When should you bring your children to the orthodontist?
When they have their permanent teeth? When they express an interest in fixing their smiles?
How about when they reach their seventh birthdays?
Age 7 is a great time to visit the orthodontist. In fact, this is when we recommend that you plan a checkup at Orthodontic Alliances at any of our locations in Indiana.
As with any potential problem, we would prefer to find it early. Thanks to dentofacial orthopedics, we may be able to make corrections now that could reduce or even eliminate the need for orthodontic care when your children are older.
What Are Dentofacial Orthopedics?
This is part of the dental specialty of orthodontics. The American Dental Association defines it this way:
Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics is the dental specialty that includes the diagnosis, prevention, interception, and correction of malocclusion, as well as neuromuscular and skeletal abnormalities of the developing or mature orofacial structures.
To put this another way, our specialty is focused on making changes to your teeth, your bite, or both to create healthy, straight smiles.
The skeletal structure of your jaw and face can and do affect how your teeth erupt. For younger patients, we can use various techniques to guide their facial development as they grow.
This also can prevent the need for surgery in many cases.
When Can Dentofacial Orthopedics Help?
When your child visits us for his or her initial assessment, we will be looking for anything out of the ordinary with his or her bone structure.
Having too little or too much bone growth can affect his or her bite. This also can lead to alignment problems as his or her permanent teeth begin to erupt.
If needed, we can create special oral appliances that will guide the development of your child’s jaw. This may not correct all the potential problems, but it can make them more manageable as your child gets older.
Will My Child Still Need Braces After Dentofacial Orthopedics?
That will vary on a case by case basis.
Dentofacial orthopedics are sometimes considered phase one of orthodontic care. This early phase of treatment makes it easier for your child to complete orthodontic care when he or she gets older.
This may be the difference between needing to wear braces for multiple years or being able to complete orthodontic care in less time and with few complications. That may not sound like much, but it can mean a world of difference for your son or daughter.
It is easier to change the shape of someone’s jaw while that jaw is still growing. This is a big part of why we encourage you to schedule an orthodontic check-up when your child is still young.
Can Dentofacial Orthopedics Help Adults?
Yes, they can, but the process may be more complicated. Adults bones are more set than children’s. As a result, this kind of treatment may involve what could be called surgical orthodontics.
Here are some examples of times with oral surgery can help improve the alignment of your bite.
An open bite occurs when your top and bottom teeth leave an open space even when your jaw is in the closed position. Surgery may be the most effective option for correcting this particular issue for some patients.
If you have a protruding chin, this can cause you to have an underbite. This is when the lower teeth stick out more than the upper teeth. Oral surgery in combination with some kind oral appliance often can correct this issue.
Orthodontic surgery also may be recommended for someone with a receding chin, sometimes called a weak chin. As a result of this, a person may appear to have an overbite, which is when the upper teeth stick out noticeably more than the lower teeth.
If you need this kind of treatment, our orthodontists (Dr. Schmidt and Dr. Schmidt) will work with an oral surgeon to coordinate your treatment for the best possible results.