Green Bay Family Dental and Drs Heidi Eggers-Ulve and Dr. Eric Ulve would like to take this opportunity to explain what is involved in orthodontic treatment and familiarize you with the process.
Whether you're starting now or later, the first visit is the best time to ask questions about the process.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends an orthodontic screening for children by the age of 7 years. At age 7 the teeth and jaws are developed enough so that the dentist or orthodontist can see if there will be any serious bite problems in the future. Most of the time treatment is not necessary at age 7, but it gives the parents and dentist time to watch the development of the patient and decide on the best mode of treatment. When you have time on your side you can plan ahead and prevent the formation of serious problems. However, adults can also benefit from orthodontic treatment.
Research has shown that serious orthodontic problems can be more easily corrected when the patient’s skeleton is still growing and flexible. By correcting the skeletal problems at a younger age we can prepare the mouth for the eventual eruption of the permanent teeth. If the permanent teeth have adequate space to erupt they will come in fairly straight. If the teeth erupt fairly straight their tendency to get crooked again after the braces come off is diminished significantly. After the permanent teeth have erupted, usually from age 12-14, complete braces are placed for final alignment and detailing of the bite. Thus the final stage of treatment is quicker and easier on the patient. This phase of treatment usually lasts from 12 - 18 month and is not started until all of the permanent teeth are erupted. Adults benefit from orthodontics for many reasons as well.
Crowded teeth, thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, premature loss of baby teeth, a poor breathing airway caused by enlarged adenoids or tonsils can all contribute to poor tooth positioning. And then there are the hereditary factors. Extra teeth, large teeth, missing teeth, wide spacing, small jaws - all can be causes of crowded teeth.
Orthodontics works by moving teeth. Tooth movement is a natural response to light pressure over a period of time. Pressure is applied by using a variety of orthodontic hardware (appliances), the most common being a brace or bracket attached to the teeth and connected by an arch wire. Periodic changing of these arch wires puts pressure on the teeth. At different stages of treatment you or your child may wear a headgear, elastics, a positioner or a retainer. Most orthodontic appointments are scheduled 4 to 6 weeks apart to give the teeth time to move.
The American Association for Orthodontists recommends that every child have an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. Early detection and treatment gives your child the edge: a much better chance for natural and normal development. By working with the natural growth instead of against it, we can prevent problems from becoming worse, and give your child a lifetime of healthy smiles!
Early treatment should be initiated for:
- Habits such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking
- A constricted airway due to swollen adenoids or tonsils
- Mouth breathing or snoring problems
- A bad bite
- Bone problems (i.e. narrow or underdeveloped jaws)
- Space maintenance (for missing teeth)
Time to Schedule a Consultation
If you’ve been thinking about the advantages of orthodontics, be sure to consider the health benefits as well. The sooner you start wearing braces the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy an attractive and healthy smile. Call (920) 432-2961 today to schedule a visit with Dr. Heidi Eggers-Ulve, Dr. Eric Ulve, or Dr. Jessica Pasono at Green Bay Family Dental in Green Bay, WI.