What Is an Orthodontist?
Orthodontists, dental specialists who focus on tooth movement and facial development, complete an addition two or more years of school after the four years required for dental school.
When Should Your Child See the Orthodontist?
We agree with the recommendation of the American Association of Orthodontists that a child should have an orthodontic evaluation completed by the time he or she turns seven.
We offer free orthodontic examinations and consultations for new patients here at Sporting Smiles Pediatric Dentistry & Family Orthodontics. This initial consultation allows you to receive expert advice about any possible treatment needs, available options, and appropriate timing so you can make decisions about this important investment. During this consult, feel free to ask us any questions so that we can make sure that all your concerns have been addressed and you are getting the information you need about your treatment options.
“Early” or Phase I Orthodontics
Dr. Vahab practices with a conservative philosophy regarding when to initiate “Early” or “Phase I” braces and only recommends early orthodontics when it is absolutely necessary.
Typically, children begin orthodontic treatment after all the adult teeth have fully erupted. This usually takes place between the ages of 11 and 13. In some cases, however, certain problems can develop that need to be treated early to prevent more involved or invasive treatment further down the road. Early orthodontics are usually initiated around the ages of 8 to 10.
During this developmental period, there is still a mixture of adult and baby teeth and the bones are still growing. Some of the most common conditions that may require early orthodontic treatment include:
- Narrow jaws
- Deep overbites ("bucked" teeth)
- Asymmetric bites
- Open bites
- Jaw growth discrepancies
- Space discrepancies
If the Phase I window is missed on these conditions, they could be much more challenging to treat later, after the jaw is done growing.
Orthodontic problems aren't limited to the positioning of the teeth. When irregularities of the jaw are also involved, which can inhibit your ability to chew, speak, and even breath correctly, we can discuss orthognathic surgery (surgical orthodontics). In addition to relieving your discomfort, surgery can also improve the appearance of your facial features! In a nutshell, we use surgery to straighten your jaw.
Because it's necessary to make sure that your teeth are in their correct positions following your surgery, we will recommend braces along with surgical jaw correction.
Surgical orthodontic treatment is appropriate for adults or young adults who have finished growing and find themselves with severe abnormalities in their bite or esthetic concerns about their facial features.. This usually works out to about age 16 for girls and 18 for boys.
Presurgical orthodontics is performed first, followed by the surgery, which is an oral surgeon performs in a hospital setting. Once surgery is complete, most people are able to return to work or school within about two weeks. Over the next four to eight weeks, your body will continue to heal, and once this is complete, you'll return to our office so that we can perform any "fine tuning" that is necessary.
Most of the time, braces are worn for about six to twelve months after surgery.