With kids heading back to school this month, we asked Dr. Arjun Patel to share his expertise on what smart orthodontic treatment looks like.
1. When should parents take their kids for their first visit to an orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children get their first check-up with an orthodontist at the first recognition of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age 7. An examination as permanent teeth take the place of baby teeth, and as the face and jaws are growing, gives the orthodontist a wealth of information. If a problem exists, or if one is developing, your orthodontist is able to advise you on whether treatment is recommended, when it should begin, what form of treatment is needed, and estimate its length.
2. Tell us about new developments you're embracing.
There are many types of braces from metal, ceramic (clear), to clear aligners. The newest technology on the market is called Inbrace, which are invisible thanks to small brackets that go on the back of the teeth and a Smartwire that is robotically bent to each patient’s specifications.Treatment time is reduced and patients are also able to floss normally due to the shape of the wire.
4. How do I know it's time for braces?
Look for early or late loss of baby teeth, difficulty chewing or biting, mouth breathing, jaws that shift or makes sounds, speech difficulties, biting the cheek or the roof of the mouth, grinding or clenching of teeth, severe protrusion of front teeth, deep bite or cross bites where the upper teeth go behind the lower teeth.
5. Kids want to know...how long?
With the advent of digital, customized appliances and other treatments that boost the movement of teeth, treatment times have been cut down to 12-18 months.