Orthodontics for Children – Dr. Cassandra Gandia, DDS/Orthodontist
Thank you for spending time at my website. I hope you will learn a little about the type of care and the rationale for treatment which I provide.
I believe in the American Association of Orthodontists’ recommendation that every child have an orthodontic evaluation by age 7. Usually the first permanent molars and permanent incisors have come in by that time. Early treatment is only recommended in about 5-10% of the patients I evaluate. In most cases, growth and development is seen as normal and no intervention is required.
I do not usually recommend starting at this age unless problems exist which will adversely affect the way the teeth or jaws are growing. In these cases, two phases of orthodontic treatment is recommended. Such problems include:
- Severe crowding
- Crooked teeth causing psychological stress
- When the midlines of the upper and lower teeth don’t line up
- When upper or lower front teeth protrude excessively
- Habits such as thumb sucking/finger sucking
- Unusually early loss of certain baby teeth
When significant problems do exist, addressing them early can help avoid the development of more complex dental issues over time. The longer these problems go unrecognized, the more challenging they become to treat in the future. As we all know, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While early treatment may not be able to eliminate the need for full braces in the future, it certainly can help ensure the best outcome possible.
The preventative and interceptive benefits of early orthodontic treatment for your child may include the following:
- Reduce or eliminate the need to extract teeth
- Reduce or eliminate the need for jaw surgery
- Lower the risk of injury to protruded front teeth
- Correct harmful oral habits
- Improve their smile/self confidence
- Improve speech development
- Influence growth of the jaws in a positive manner
- Reduce appearance-consciousness during critical developmental years
- Improve the width of the dental arches
- Simplify and shorten treatment time for full braces
- Increase the stability of final treatment results
- Reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
- Guide permanent teeth into more favorable positions
- Preserve or gain space for erupting permanent teeth
- Correct potentially damaging bite problems
In cases where these problems do not exist, it is better to wait to begin treatment until all of the baby teeth are lost. In that case I will see you for regular periodic evaluation until you are ready to begin treatment. These consultations and periodic check-ups are always at no cost to you.
There is an optimal time for starting orthodontics. You can be assured that if orthodontic treatment is necessary, I will recommend the ideal time to begin. When your child is ready to start orthodontic care, there are many treatment options available, including clear, porcelain and traditional metal braces, as well as Invisalign (clear removable aligners) in instances when this will yield the best possible result. The appliances I use are very comfortable, and are customized to your child’s specific treatment.
Orthodontic care is not a “one size fits all” treatment, but rather a “case by case” treatment. That is why I recommend a free consultation to discuss your child’s specific situation and which treatment option would give your child the best possible result. At your visit I will discuss all of the specifics including a detailed understanding of the entire treatment process as well as the approximate treatment time frame. I will also answer any questions or concerns you may have so that you can make an educated and informed decision.