For many parents, it’s not a question of whether their child should get braces but when. There are several indicators that orthodontists use to determine when a child is ready for braces and how long they will need to wear them. To help parents identify these factors, Ryan Richard, an orthodontist at Family Orthodontics in Snellville, shares answers to the most commonly asked questions.
1. What are the general indicators that lead to an evaluation for orthodontic treatment?
Some of the basic indicators are overbites, underbites, crowding, deep or open bites, spacing issues, crossbites and excessive wear.
2. Is there a standard age for braces?
The American Association of Orthodontists advises that children come for an initial orthodontic consultation by age 7. One exception to this is if the parents note an underbite early on in the development of the child. In this case, it is best to engage in treatment of the underbite as early as age 4 for the most productive results. Early treatment, sometimes called Phase I, or age-appropriate treatment, occurs when some of the baby teeth are still present. In the Phase I treatment, which typically occurs between ages 6-10, you can avoid more invasive types of procedures like extractions or surgical uncovering of impacted teeth. Phase II, or comprehensive treatment, addresses all the adult teeth and usually occurs between ages 11-13.
3. Is there a typical treatment plan? If so, how long does it last?
Each patient has unique orthodontic needs, which make their treatment plan specific to their own dental and skeletal characteristics. Orthodontists are dental specialists who have received two to three years of additional dental training in the areas of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. They are trained to plan and carry out the proper treatment for each patient based on their individual orthodontic needs. Treatment plans can range from 12-36 months depending on the specific needs of the patient but average 24-28 months and must always follow with proper retainer wear to encourage stability of the final result.
4. Wisdom teeth: What role do they play in deciding when to get braces?
Wisdom teeth are typically unrelated to the orthodontic treatment of a patient as these teeth often do not erupt until ages 17-21. However, the X-ray an orthodontist uses initially and throughout treatment, called a panorex, is helpful in the early identification of problems related to the wisdom teeth. An orthodontist can serve as an advisor to parents on how to manage wisdom teeth, which are usually removed by an oral surgeon. Wisdom teeth can play a role in the eruption of the adjacent second molars by pushing them under the first molar, causing them to become impacted. Removal of the impacted wisdom teeth and surgical uncovering or uprighting of the second molars requires a coordinated effort between the oral surgeon and orthodontist.
5. Are braces affordable?
Braces are affordable, but there are variations in pricing between orthodontic plans. Most offices offer interest-free payment plans and discounts for full payment of the treatment upfront. What is most important, though, is for the patient and their parents to feel comfortable with all aspects of the treatment, including the doctor, the treatment plan, the office, the staff, and of course, the cost of treatment and the payment options.
To learn more about Family Orthodontics, visit www.WeFixYourSmile.com or call 770-448-8882.
About Family Orthodontics: Family Orthodontics offers patients a professional and caring environment outfitted with the latest innovations in orthodontics. With 28 locations in the metro-Atlanta area, Family Orthodontics’ staff of highly trained specialists accurately and effectively addresses the specialized needs of each patient and guarantees the highest quality of care. Find the office nearest you by visiting www.WeFixYourSmile.com or calling 770-448-8882. Join them on Facebook for the latest news, updates and promotions: www.Facebook.com/FamilyBraces.
Source: Family Orthodontics