Dr. Partovi, along with the American Association of Orthodontists, recommends that children receive their first orthodontic screening by age seven. By that age, Dr. Partovi will be able to clearly recognize potential issues and correct them before they transform into more serious problems. This makes treatment less complex, and saves you and your child time, as well as money.
In addition, early interceptive orthodontic treatment is proven to ensure an optimal outcome. Because a young child’s permanent teeth have not finished erupting, Dr. Partovi can fully evaluate the front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships and address any impending problems at their earliest stages.
Does your child need early treatment?
Only an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Partovi will be able to tell you with certainty whether your child requires early treatment. However, early treatment may be necessary if your child:
- Lost their baby teeth earlier or later than normal. (Children typically begin losing their baby teeth around age five.)
- Has trouble chewing or biting.
- Breathes through his or her mouth.
- Sucks on his or her thumb after age five.
- Displays any speech impediments.
- Has protruding teeth.
- Has teeth that don’t come together normally.
- Experiences a shifting of the jaw when opening or closing his or her mouth.
- Has crowded teeth.
If your child displays any of the above characteristics, it’s a good idea to bring him or her into 360 Orthodontics for an evaluation. During that meeting, Dr. Partovi will evaluate your child’s teeth, mouth, gums and jaw. If she sees any of the following problems, she may recommend treatment:
Also known as “buck teeth,” this occurs when the upper teeth are located too far in front of the lower teeth.
An underbite occurs when the lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper jaw, causing the front lower teeth to overlap the front top teeth.
A crossbite occurs when the upper teeth don’t come down slightly in front of the lower teeth as they should.
Crowding occurs when there isn’t enough space for the teeth to fit properly within the jaws. Signs of crowding are teeth that are twisted and displaced.
This occurs when there is too much space in between the teeth, creating a gap.
This occurs when some of the top and bottom teeth don’t meet when biting.
This occurs when the middle of your upper front teeth doesn’t align with the middle of your lower front teeth.
If one or more of the above problems are present, we may recommend a personalized treatment plan to proactively correct the issue and ensure your child has a lifetime of healthy, straight and beautiful teeth.
What does early treatment involve?
Once upon a time when we would talk about early treatment here at 360 Orthodontics, we were talking about the use of orthodontic appliances and/or partial braces to guide the growth of your child’s developing jaw bones. Many of which are still being used as treatments by other orthodontist. To us these are becoming more and more obsolete when compared to new revolutionary treatments such as the Damon System. The following appliances were used to create a environment for the adult teeth to emerge, but are no longer provided us:
- Palatal Expander: one of the most common orthodontic appliance used with children. It can look quite intimidating to patients, and causes a twinge at the thought of having to “do the turns” daily. They can collect food and be very difficult to clean. If not properly maintain, a child’s mouth can build up unnecessary bacteria which can cause ailments. Palatal expanders have multiple names: Hyrax, RPE: Rapid Palatal Expander, Haas Appliance.
- Alternative Light Force (ALF): very similar to a palatal expander except it takes much longer for results. Sometimes the appliance is on the roof of a patients mouth for over 2 year. ALF have the same problems as palatal expanders regarding getting food stuck in them and bacteria build up, along with a vocal lisp. This is only an appliance to expand the arches, braces would have to be used in conjunction to get straight teeth. It is nothing revolutionary.
- Cervical Headgear: this method of treatment has been around for a very long time. It was mainly used to push the upper teeth and upper jaw (maxilla) back in an effort to correct a problem with the lower jaw being to far back. For many years it had been working on the wrong part of the jaw in an attempt to fix the problem. The result was teeth that came together properly, but a face that had a pushed back upper jaw which made a person look older immediately. Many orthodontists have stopped using cervical headgear due what studies call "disastrous" side effects on craniofacial growth.
In most cases, early treatment was accompanied by full braces once all of your child’s permanent teeth had grown in. However, because this can take a lot of time and there have been new breakthroughs in the methods of moving teeth, the Damon system is our bread and butter. Because of its self-ligating brackets, there are no weekly required tightening. This greatly reduces the pain associated with moving teeth. The cleaning is also far more easier than the old traditional methods. You also needn’t worry about the inconvenience of emergency visits to Dr. Partovi’s office for broken bands. This is because there is no bands with our Los Angeles Damon braces.
The benefits of early treatment
There are countless benefits of treating your child’s orthodontic issues early, including:
- Correct any problems before they become severe.
- Protect protruding front teeth from suffering an injury.
- Correct bad habits like thumb-sucking and tongue-thrusting.
- Improve your child’s overall appearance and self-esteem.
- Guide teeth so they grow in optimally.
- Reduce the need for extractions later on due to overcrowding issues.
- Improve the way the upper and lower jaw meet so your child’s teeth can grow and develop properly.