Questions About Orthodontics?

What age should my child have an orthodontic evaluation?

Although treatment it is rarely needed at this age, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends an orthodontic screening for children by AGE 7.  This is around the time that jaws are developed enough to predict if treatment will be needed in the future.   Having an early screening allows pediatric dentists and orthodontists  to assess and monitor the  development of the patient before a problem occurs.   When you have time on your side you can plan ahead and prevent the formation of serious problems by intervening when necessary

Why do some kids get braces when they still have baby teeth?

Dr. Vahab practices with a conservative philosophy regarding when to initiate “Early” or “Phase I” braces and only recommends it when it is absolutely necessary.  Most children start orthodontics when all the adult teeth have erupted (average age 11-13).  However some kids can develop specific problems that are best treated early (age 8-10).  During this developmental period, there is still a mixture of adult and baby teeth and the bones are still growing.    Cross-bites, open-bites, narrow jaws, jaw growth discrepancies, space deficiencies, under-bites, “bucked” or deep overbites, and asymmetric bites are examples of conditions that can be more difficult or impossible to treat if the “Early” or “Phase I” window is missed.   



                    Phase I: Anterior Cross Bite                   Phase I: Bucked Teeth



                       Phase I: Crowding                                    Phase I: Deep Overbite




                            Phase I: Open Bite                      Phase I: Posterior Crossbite




                      Phase I: Deep Underbite                           Phase I: Oral Habits

How do teeth move?

Tooth movement is a natural physiologic response to light pressure applied to a tooth over a period of time.  The bone and gums surrounding the teeth slowly remodel allowing the teeth to straighten.   The applied force is from soft flexible wires or Invisalign plastic aligners.   Most orthodontic appointments are scheduled 4 to 6 weeks apart to give the teeth time to move before the next adjustment.  

Do Braces Hurt?

When teeth are first moved, mild discomfort may result. The sensation usually lasts about 24 to 72 hours. Patients report a lessening of discomfort as the treatment progresses. Medicines such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) may be taken to alleviate the discomfort.