Orthodontics in 2020: A Modern Perspective

by | Apr 28, 2020 | Orthodontics for Kids, Traditional Metal Braces

One of the most common questions I get from parents is “why do some 2nd and 3rd graders already have braces”? “That is not how it was done when I was a kid”. You are right, early treatment was not as common back when we grew up. I understand that you probably have a number of questions about your child’s orthodontic needs, such as how to know if and when your child needs braces or how to tell if their permanent teeth are coming in the right way or if your child’s jaw growth is normal – or not.

These questions are totally understandable, and we want to help ease your mind about this process!

Let’s start with the basics.

When should your child see an orthodontic specialist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children visit an orthodontic specialist at the age of 7. While it is recommended to see an orthodontic specialist, not every child needs early intervention. My philosophy is keeping the treatment as conservative as possible because a 7 and 8-year-old should only be in braces if it is absolutely necessary. It is important to remember that not every child needs early orthodontic treatment, yet certain orthodontic problems are easier to fix when they are diagnosed and treated early.

Why age 7?

By age 7 most children have a mix of adult and baby teeth. At this time, we are able to identify conditions that are better to correct at a younger age, the size of the permanent teeth can be assessed, and I am able to catch problems that have the potential to do harm to the teeth and/or gums.

What I look for?

• Uneven jaw growth
• Improper bite
• Crowded teeth
• Missing teeth
• Impacted adult teeth
• Extra tooth/teeth
• Damaged root in developing adult teeth

Contrary to popular belief, braces for kids braces are not just for appearances or having a perfectly straight smile; they can be an important aspect of dental and overall health – and actually long term oral health! When I start treatment early (ages 6-11) I am able to support healthy growth, potentially avoiding future complications and minimizing risk of trauma to the teeth and mouth.

Ideally speaking, the top and bottom teeth should line up like a zipper when they are closed together. Properly aligned teeth are easier to clean, so the risk of dental decay and gum disease is reduced. Moving teeth so that they align correctly is one of the countless benefits of early orthodontic treatment.

What to expect at your child’s consultation appointment?

The consultation is a time for you to get to know me and for me to get to know you and your child. It is an easy appointment and we try to make it as fun and casual as possible. We start by gathering all the necessary information to a make a thorough dental and smile evaluation. We take digital radiographs to assess the growth and development of the teeth and jaws. We also take a set of photographs of the teeth and smile. In the consultation we will review all the information and discuss the best treatment approach for your child. We try to provide as much information as possible on our website, but for the best answers, it is always best to visit us at Roland Park Orthodontics.

What if your child does not need early treatment?

In the case that your child does not need early intervention, they will become a member of our VIP (Very Important Patient) Club. The VIP club consists of observation appointments every 6 months so that I can closely monitor their growth and eruption of their remaining permanent teeth. This allows me to address any issues that may arise before they become more serious and I can time the treatment to give us the best result possible. The VIP Club is complimentary.

If your child is 7 and up, please call our office today for a complimentary consultation, (410) 296-4400 or email at hello@rolandparksmiles.com

Through early intervention and regular observation appointments, you’ll be giving your child the best opportunity for a beautiful and healthy smile! (#orthodontics, #earlytreatment, #smile, #rpobraces, #rolandparksmiles, #boardcertified)

What is the next step after the early treatment (phase 2 treatment)?

Children with phase I orthodontic treatment often pursue a second round of braces for two primary reasons: ONE, to fine-tune the bite and create an exceptional smile and TWO, unsuccessful treatment during the phase I requires a second round of treatment with a different treatment plan that is tailored based on each individual’s bite. The gap between these two treatments varies between 1 and 5 years.

Dr. Dina Stappert-Sanchez

Dr. Dina Stappert-Sanchez

Board Certified Orthodontist

Dr. Dina Stappert-Sanchez is a board certified orthodontist, mom, published author, wife, University of Maryland clinical professor, abstract artist, tooth fairy, and accidental lacrosse superfan. Learn more about Dr. D here.