For Children

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that orthodontists evaluate children by age 7. At this age, the first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in, therefore cross bites, crowding, and other problems can be diagnosed.

Celebrating Smiles in Ithaca and Cortland, NY offers early orthodontic treatment for children to guide the growth of the jaw, which helps to:

  • Avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions
  • Reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
  • Correct thumb-sucking
  • Eliminate abnormal swallowing

Simply put, early orthodontic treatment can simplify later treatment after the permanent teeth come in.

Observation Program
We place patients in our Observation Program if they are not ready for treatment. Our office then observes them in our office every 8 to 12 months. Additionally, the Observation Program also helps us build a relationship with your child and determine the optimum time to begin treatment to achieve the best possible result.

We observe their progress as they grow and make sure permanent teeth erupt in correct position. In some cases, early removal of baby teeth can eliminate poor permanent teeth patterns and reduce the treatment time required for braces. We will also notify your general dentist of recommendations made during any Observation visits.

Does early orthodontic treatment prevent the need for braces when permanent teeth come in?
Typically, no. Early orthodontic treatment can begin the correction of significant problems, prevent more severe problems from developing, and simplify future treatment. Generally, a shorter phase of treatment in the teen years, after all permanent teeth have come in, completes the correction. In some circumstances, patients don’t need braces after early orthodontic treatment.

Two-Phase Treatment
Patients participate in two-phase treatment before all their permanent teeth erupt . This process encompasses tooth straightening and physical facial changes. The major advantage of a two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, aesthetic result that will remain stable throughout your life.

In the first phase, we typically  recommend appliances like a palatial expander or partial braces to make more space for developing teeth and to correct crossbites, overbites, underbites, or harmful oral habits.

Finally, the second phase of treatment involves the application of full braces once all permanent teeth have erupted, which typically occurs between the ages of eleven and thirteen. Females’ permanent teeth normally come in one year earlier than males’ permanent teeth.

Frequently Asked Questions About Early Orthodontic Treatment

Do I need or does my child need orthodontic treatment?

The following signs may indicate that you or your child would benefit from an evaluation:
– Thumb or finger sucking
– Overlapping or crowding of permanent teeth
– Broken or missing teeth
– Difficulty chewing food
– Mouth breathing due to allergies, enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids
– Jaw joints which click, pop or are sore
– Developing underbite, overbite, crossbite or abnormal bite development
– Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
– Spaces between the teeth
– Lower jaw shifts from one side to the other when biting together

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. An orthodontist is a dentist, but only six percent of dentists are orthodontists. An orthodontist must first attend college and then complete a four-year dental graduate program accredited by the American Dental Association. In addition, he or she must then successfully complete an additional two to three-year orthodontic residency program.

What causes orthodontic problems?

Most orthodontic issues are inherited and cannot be prevented, but some are due to habits or medical and dental problems. Inherited problems involve the jaws, teeth and face. Crowding of teeth, spacing, extra or missing teeth and/or upper and lower jaw growth abnormalities are some examples of orthodontic problems. Non-inherited issues include finger habits, enlarged tonsils and adenoids, allergies, asthma, premature loss of baby and/or permanent teeth, and poor dental care. Regardless of cause, these factors affect the position of teeth as they erupt and the jaw develops throughout the growing years.

Why is orthodontic treatment important?

To remedy crowded and crooked teeth that are difficult to clean and can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and/or tooth loss.
To reduce or eliminate abnormal tooth wear or tooth loss.
To improve poor chewing habits, which cause excessive stress on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth. TMJ dysfunction of the jaw joints may result and cause headaches, neck problems and joint pain.
Left untreated, most orthodontic problems become worse. Orthodontics is usually less expensive than the additional dental care required to address more serious problems that may develop in later years.
A great smile is vital to self-confidence and can improve your general attitude about life.

How long is the initial exam?

During the initial appointment, which takes approximately one hour, the objective is to determine if orthodontic treatment is recommended and provide an individualized plan in a friendly, caring and enjoyable atmosphere. The treatment coordinator will review the orthodontic treatment plan prescribed by the orthodontist, discuss financial arrangements, and answer questions regarding insurance, appointments and treatment concerns.

Do braces hurt?

The placement of bands and brackets, or Invisalign®, on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires, or your Invisalign® aligners are inserted, your teeth begin to gradually move. You may feel some discomfort for one to four days. With the Damon® Braces System, discomfort is significantly reduced or eliminated. Tylenol or Advil works well to alleviate any discomfort you may have. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces once they are initially placed on your teeth. Your orthodontic hygienist will provide you with all of the information necessary to make this transition as easy as comfortable possible.

How are braces removed?

We use a special device to break the bond to the plastic adhesive on the back of the bracket. The brackets remain attached to the wire and everything is removed in a few minutes with little discomfort. If any bonding material remains on the tooth, it is smoothed off with a polishing disk. When braces are removed, your teeth feel very smooth and strange. It’s been a long time since you felt them without hardware attached.

How long are retainers worn?

Upon completion of orthodontic treatment, retainers will be made to maintain your new beautiful smile. Retainers are to be worn every night (10-12 hours per night) for approximately one year. Even after the teeth become stable, it is important to continue to wear your retainers at least a few nights a week, indefinitely. This is your insurance policy that you will maintain your new smile for a lifetime.

Should I see my general dentist while I wear braces?

Absolutely. You should continue to see your general dentist for cleanings and regular dental check-ups at least once every six months as normal.