Pediatric Interceptive Orthodontic Care

The detection and timing of treatment is critical. Having the teamwork of two dental specialists help plan the “best time” and “best treatment” for our patients. The doctors are here to hear your concerns and make recommendations for necessary treatment. Early care is the “stitch in time” philosophy. Sometimes this early care totally eliminates a problem that, left untreated, would just get worse with time. Other times, early care reduces the amount of later treatment and can provide a superior end result.

When does your child need to see the orthodontist?

I’m often asked, “when does my child need to see an orthodontist?” The American Association of Orthodontists recommends being evaluated at 7 years old. Although most seven-year-olds do not require treatment, being evaluated by an orthodontist while your child is transitioning to permanent dentition allows their eruptive process to be closely monitored and any issues promptly addressed.

Examining your child over his or her transitional period allows us to individually tailor the timing of orthodontic treatment as ideally as possible. These are complimentary appointments and a great opportunity for you to get all your dental questions answered. Did I mention we have free popsicles?

Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment

The appropriate treatment and the appropriate time.

What is the “Two-Phase” Orthodontic Treatment?

Two-phase orthodontic treatment consists of two separate times when a child receives orthodontic treatment. A first phase of treatment is done while the youngster still has many or most of his or her primary or “baby” teeth. A second phase takes place when the child has most or all of the permanent teeth. Braces may or may not be used during a first phase of treatment. Other appliances (the name used for braces and other devices for orthodontic correction) may be used.

Drs. Vincent and Bullwinkel have the training and clinical experience necessary to diagnose and treat your child’s orthodontic problem. Orthodontists must complete college requirements, graduate from dental school, and successfully complete a minimum of two academic years of study in an orthodontic residency program accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation.

Only those who have completed this rigorous education and passed the national speciality board exam may call themselves “orthodontists,” and only orthodontists may be members of the American Association of Orthodontists.

Why does my child need “Two-Phase” Treatment?

Drs. Vincent and Bullwinkel believe your child could benefit from two phases of orthodontic treatment, based on an examination of your child’s mouth and study of diagnostic records. The goal of this treatment is to create a better environment for your son or daughter’s permanent teeth.

How does the two-phase treatment benefit my child?

A first phase of treatment benefits patients physically, enabling them to bite or chew more effectively. It may reduce the risk of breaking front teeth that protrude. For many patients, there is improvement in self-esteem.

Younger patients may be more cooperative and follow the orthodontist’s instructions on appliance wear and oral hygiene. Also the desired changes that result from a first-phase treatment may contribute to long-term stability, meaning that teeth stay where the orthodontist has moved them.

A second phase of treatment moves permanent teeth into their final positions.

How do I know the Two-Phase Treatment is right for my child?

Orthodontic care is not a “one size fits all” approach. Each patient has a unique problem that requires a unique treatment plan. What is right for one child may not be right for another. The diagnosis of your youngster’s problem and the treatment plan are the result of study of your little one’s mouth and diagnostic records.

What is involved in the first phase of treatment?

A first phase of treatment is initiated to:

  • Prevent a problem from developing (preventive treatment)
  • Intercept a developing problem (interceptive treatment)
  • Guide the growth of the jaw bones that support the teeth (growth modification)
  • Without this first phase of treatment, Dr. Vincent or Dr. Bullwinkel has determined that your child’s problem, if left alone, will create an unhealthy environment for the growth and development of your child’s teeth, gums, jaws, and face. The treatment will be timed to predictable stages of dental development to provide the greatest potential for improvement and correction of your child’s malocclusion (bad bite).
  • Most patients will require a second phase of treatment, often with traditional braces, to complete the tooth and jaw alignment that was started during the first phase of treatment.

Does a child’s growth affect orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment and a child’s growth can complement each other. By timing orthodontic treatment to predictable stages of dental development, we may be able to take advantage of your child’s growth and development. Some problems that can be treated quite well in a growing child may require corrective surgery if treated after growth has occurred.

Drs. Vincent and Bullwinkel have these goals in mind for your child’s treatment

  1. A proper relationship of teeth and jaws, so they work correctly
  2. Correct alignment of the teeth for a beautiful smile
  3. Positioning of the teeth and jaws for an attractive face and profile

To reach these goals, your child needs to:

  • Follow instructions for appliance wear
  • Keep the appliance, teeth, and gums clean by brushing and flossing as prescribed
  • Keep scheduled appointments with our office
  • Visit the dentist at least every six months
  • Avoid food that may damage the appliance
  • Maintain a healthy diet
pediatric interceptive orthodontic care
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