Pediatric Dentist


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Dento-Facial Growth & Development

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child have an orthodontic evaluation by an Orthodontist as they approach the age of 7. Early detection and treatment of specific dento-facial developmental problems give your child the special edge needed for a better chance at normal and natural development. At our office, your child is evaluated for potential dento-facial developmental problems at a much younger age. Since most of our patients begin their dental check-ups between the ages of 1-2, we are not only evaluating their dentition, but also their overall growth and development of their jaws, face and supporting structures. Any significant variation from normal development (which typically is recognized at a young age) is diagnosed and evaluated for future correction and/or guidance as may be appropriate for your child and their stage of development. With early diagnosis and by working with the natural growth of your child’s dentition and jaws, we can prevent problems from becoming worse. As your child matures, our dual specialties can provide the accurate diagnosis, tooth guidance and appropriate orthodontic intervention that will ensure the best possible results.

Early treatment should be initiated for:

  • Habits such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking
  • A constricted palate and airway due to swollen adenoids or tonsils (in cooperation with the child’s Ear-Nose-Throat-specialist)
  • Moderate to severe protrusion of the teeth (overbite-overjet) or underbites
  • Narrow or underdeveloped jaws (crossbites)
  • Facial asymmetries of the jaws and face
  • Space maintenance for missing teeth

Facts: Early Treatment is Important to Consider

Facial Development- Seventy-five percent of 12-year-olds need orthodontic treatment for a variety of problems. Yet 90% of a child’s face has already developed. By guiding facial development earlier, through the use of early orthodontic appliances, 80% of the treatment can be corrected before the adult teeth are present, by correcting the underlying size, shape and position of the growing bones of the lower face.

Cooperation- younger children between the ages of 8-11 are often much more cooperative than children near or at the age of high school. Psycho-socially, it is easier to address and correct the facial development of a younger child than on a young adolescent. As children grow and mature, unresolved developmental problems are more difficult to correct and the child may negatively internalize the unfortunate resultant physical characteristics. Focusing on these traits during their adolescence is a delicate endeavor for them, but essential in their pursuit of self-acceptance.

Dento-Facial Orthopedics- Almost 55% of children who need orthodontic treatment due to a bad bite have underdeveloped or overdeveloped upper or lower jaws. Early orthodontic treatment can reposition the jaws, improving the child’s profile and correcting the bite problem. Early normalization of dento-facial problems is one the components in the development of a child’s self-esteem.

Phase One Orthodontic Treatment
(Ages 5-12)

In the first phase, the doctor is interested in the position, size, and symmetry of the jaws as well as the developing alignment of the teeth, future growth potential, spacing of the teeth, breathing and other oral habits which may, over time, result in abnormal dento-facial development. Treatment initiated in this phase of development is often very successful and some times, though not always, can eliminate the need for future orthodontic and/or surgical treatment.

Phase Two Orthodontic Treatment
(Ages 12 and beyond)

In the second phase, the doctor will be looking at how your child’s teeth and jaws fit and work together. Your child’s teeth will be straightened and their occlusion (bite) is properly aligned. Attention will be given to the jaw joint (TMJ), the maturation of the face and facial profile, periodontal (gum) tissues and the stability of the final results. By undergoing the first phase, we can usually reduce the amount of time needed for braces on the permanent teeth.

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