September 24th, 2019
As an orthodontist I am often asked questions from worried parents about teeth that haven’t grown in yet. As parents we have all been there in one way or another – our child’s friends may seem to walk, talk, throw a ball, or lose a tooth earlier than our child and we want to make sure there is no cause for concern. We want to be assured we are giving our children all the care they need to be successful in life. There is nothing wrong with this and it’s only natural to want to be certain that all is well.
When it comes to tooth eruption, there can be significant variation from one child to another. Below you will see a diagram created by the American Dental Association that gives a pretty good guideline for when normal eruption patterns usually occur. However, 6-12 months beyond the guidelines below would still fall into what I would consider a very normal range.
There are two main reasons why there is such a wide age range for normal tooth eruption. First would be the fact that girls tend to develop physically faster than boys on average. It is not uncommon in my orthodontic office to see girls who have lost all their baby teeth and have all their permanent teeth (with the exception of wisdom teeth) erupted by age 9 or 10. It is also not uncommon to see boys who still have permanent teeth that have not erupted at age 14 or 15. The second main reason for a wide age range of permanent tooth eruption is genetic variation. Among both boys and girls you will find “late bloomers” or precocious growers. This does not indicate there is something wrong, just that we are all unique.
While most cases of teeth “growing in late” are harmless, there are situations where there may be some cause for concern. One of the most common I see as an orthodontist is a permanent tooth growing in “on top” of a baby tooth that was supposed to be “pushed out” by the permanent tooth but seems to be anchored firmly in place. This situation can cause the permanent tooth to grow into a much different position than it normally would and further disrupt the sequence of eruption for other teeth that still need to grow in. We refer to this situation as ectopic eruption. Usually I would want to have the child’s dentist “wiggle out” the baby tooth so that the permanent tooth can grow into its proper position. Another common situation orthodontists encounter is baby teeth that are present long after their counterpart on the other side of the mouth has exfoliated. This is usually indicative of a more serious problem – that child is usually either congenitally missing a tooth (born without it) or has an impacted tooth (the tooth is stuck and can’t erupt). These situations almost always benefit from orthodontic intervention.
If you are concerned about your child’s dental development, follow the recommendation of the American Association of Orthodontists and have your child evaluated by an orthodontist at age 7. By this age, permanent teeth are starting to erupt and problems that might become severe in the future can often be treated early with a more simple solution. Please come visit us at Budd Orthodontics for a complimentary consultation to learn more about orthodontic treatment for your child.
August 26th, 2019
Two-phase orthodontic treatment generally means that part of the orthodontic treatment is completed while the patient still has some baby teeth. This part of the treatment is referred to as Phase I and is usually completed sometime between ages 7-10. After the eruption of the remaining adult teeth, the second phase of orthodontic treatment involving full upper and lower braces is completed. This part of the treatment is referred to as Phase II. The idea behind this type of treatment is that some of the more severe orthodontic problems can be treated more effectively by treating them in two stages.
Some examples of problems that can be treated effectively by doing two-phase orthodontic treatment are:
- Creating spacing for severely crowded teeth or repositioning teeth that are developing incorrectly
- Creating facial balance through influencing jaw growth
- Reducing the risk of fracture or uneven wear to protruding teeth or teeth in crossbite
- Preserving space for teeth that have not erupted
- Correcting harmful habits like thumb sucking
- Preventing damage to gum tissue around teeth that are erupting outside of a normal position
The type of appliances that are used in Phase I while patients still have baby teeth varies a lot. It can be as simple as a special retainer to correct one tooth that is really crooked or as complicated as partial upper and lower braces with a palatal expander. If a Phase I treatment has already been completed, Phase II is generally more straightforward involving traditional braces or Invisalign as most of the more severe orthodontic problems have already been corrected in Phase I treatment. Minor problems like mild spacing or crowding, mild overbites, and mild to moderate misalignment can generally be treated just as effectively with a single phase treatment at around age 11-13 depending on the age of eruption of the adult teeth.
July 29th, 2019
Braces have come a long way in the last 20 years. Pictures of patients with large, ugly metal rings on every tooth are now found in the history books. One of the more recent developments in orthodontic treatment that has caused a lot of excitement in recent years is Invisalign.
Invisalign is a series of clear aligners that straighten your teeth a little bit at a time. (approximately 0.25 mm to be exact!) This reduces the discomfort felt from moving the teeth into alignment and allows patients to easily brush and floss their teeth because the aligners are removable. There are also no diet restrictions with Invisalign because the aligners are removed while you are eating. Not to mention, they are nearly invisible when placed on your teeth. Invisalign allows patients who would never consider traditional braces to be potential candidates for orthodontic treatment.
The other side of the coin with Invisalign is that removable aligners don’t work well if they are always being removed. You have to wear the aligners literally 22 hours/day for the treatment to be effective. There are also some limits to what Invisalign can do compared to traditional braces for certain bite problems. It is important to see an orthodontist who has experience doing Invisalign as an “Invisalign Certification” can be acquired in one weekend and does not an expert make.
In our office we offer complimentary initial exams and can tell you whether or not you would be a good candidate for Invisalign treatment. If you are interested, come and check it out! We look forward to meeting you.
July 29th, 2019
It is no exaggeration to say that braces can provide a life-changing result to someone with an unattractive smile – not to mention reduce the risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and fractured teeth. That is one of the reasons I love being an orthodontist. My profession does not deal with life and death – only the quality of life.
However, the benefits of orthodontic treatment are definitely more than just a beautiful smile. Orthodontics is devoted to bringing the teeth, lips, and jaws into a proper, healthy relationship. Straight teeth are much easier to keep clean so having well-aligned teeth can significantly reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Also, straight teeth are less likely to fracture and they wear more evenly. Healthy, straight teeth will last longer and work better than crooked, ugly teeth. These are some of the scientifically proven benefits of orthodontic treatment.
It has also been proven that an attractive smile inspires confidence in social situations. In a job interview, if you have two equally qualified candidates and one has a beautiful smile and the other does not, the candidate with an attractive smile is more likely to get the job. A healthy, beautiful smile is one of the best investments that parents can make for themselves or their children to open more doors of opportunity and enhance self-confidence for the future. Check out our website to see some of the dramatic changes that can happen with orthodontic treatment.