Pre-orthodontic treatment is a very specialized process that encompasses teeth straightening and physical and facial changes. The major advantage of pre-orthodontic treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, and aesthetic result that will remain stable throughout your life.
The goal of pre-orthodontic treatment is to develop the jaw size, in order to accommodate all the permanent teeth and to relate the upper and lower jaws to each other. Children sometimes exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper and lower jaw that is growing too much or not enough can be recognized at an early age.
If children, after age 6, are found to have this jaw discrepancy, they're candidates for early orthodontic treatment.
Because they're growing rapidly, children can benefit enormously from an early phase of orthodontic treatment, utilizing appliances that direct the growth relationship of the upper and lower jaws. Thus, a good foundation can be established, providing adequate room for eruption of all permanent teeth.
This early correction may prevent later removal of permanent teeth to correct overcrowding or surgical procedures to align the upper and lower jaws. Leaving such a condition untreated, until all permanent teeth, erupt could result in a jaw discrepancy too severe to achieve an ideal result with braces.
Orthodontic diagnostic records will be necessary to determine the type of appliances to be used. Most common pre-orthodontic appliances are rapid palatal expanders and space maintainers. The rapid palatal expander "expands" or widens your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made.
Dr. Ault will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. The expander will be worn until Dr. Ault gets the width of the jaw he needs. A space maintainer is needed when children lose baby teeth early. The gap left from losing these baby teeth early needs to be held open for the permanent tooth to erupt into the correct position.
A space maintainer is a removable or fixed appliance designed to maintain an existing space. This appliance will be discontinued when the permanent tooth is in its proper position. The duration of treatment time and the frequency of visits will be determined as the child grows.
During the resting phase of pre-orthodontics, the remaining permanent teeth are allowed to erupt. Retaining devices are not usually recommended since they may interfere with eruption. It is best to allow the existing permanent teeth some freedom of movement while final eruption of teeth occurs. A successful first phase will have created room for teeth to find an eruption path. Otherwise, they may become impacted or severely displaced.
At the end of the pre-orthodontic treatment, teeth are not always in their final positions. This will be determined and accomplished in the braces phase of treatment, if needed. Selective removal of certain primary (baby) teeth may be in the best interest of enhancing eruption during this resting phase. Therefore, periodic recall appointments for observation are necessary, usually on a 3-6 month basis, in which at some time you may be ready to start braces.
Call Ault & Ault Orthodontics today to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.