Dr. Sonia Talley is a board-certified orthodontist at Byrdsmiles Orthodontics. Dr. Talley is going to offer her knowledge with Beltway Bambinos as it relates to orthodontics for children and adolescents and we are so pleased to share this information with you. Her first blog post is about orthodontics and how the field has progressed and improved thanks to advances in research and technology. The following post is written by Dr. Sonia Talley.
At Byrdsmiles Orthodontics we provide orthodontic care for patients of all ages. From a first phase of treatment that can begin around age 8 to a more comprehensive treatment to resolve crowding and misalignment in adults. We love treating the whole family!
Our philosophy is to take a conservative, research-based, preventative approach to orthodontic care. Each patient has a customized treatment plan developed. The plan takes into consideration the patients dental anatomy, skeletal structure, facial proportions and smile. It is through careful planning that we can set our patients up for a lifetime of excellent oral health.
What’s changed in Orthodontics?
Advances in technology have changed the way we drive, cook and even make phone calls. Life wouldn’t be the same without a rear view camera, an Instant Pot and Facetime. Forward strides of similar magnitude have changed the field of orthodontics, making your children’s orthodontic experience more comfortable and easy.
In order to move teeth a consistent force is needed, teeth don’t mind whether that force comes from a clear aligner such as invisalign or from braces. With the advent of Invisalign we as orthodontists have more tools to provide our patients with happy healthy smiles.
Do you think your experience with braces is a great way to prep your kids for their first orthodontist visit? Think again! Much has changed since the days where stainless steel wires were used that exerted high forces on teeth causing none too easily forgotten pain and soreness. Research has shown us that these traditionally used high forces were not ideal for the health of the teeth so they’ve been upgraded to gentle, consistent forces. With the advent of nitinol; a memory form wire, teeth are gently guided into better alignment while minimizing discomfort.
Why early treatment?
Ever wonder why age 7 is when the American Association of Orthodontists recommends a child have their first orthodontic exam? This is an age when children are in the early mixed dentition i.e. they have some baby teeth and some permanent teeth. At this visit we typically procure a Panoramic x-ray from your child’s dentist. This x-ray contains a wealth of information, it can tell us if the adult teeth are developing properly and on a good path of eruption, if there are missing permanent teeth or if there is crowding of permanent teeth in the bone that we cannot see with the naked eye. Using this imaging we are better able to determine if early treatment is indicated or if it’s best to monitor growth and development.
There’s been a shift in the way we, as orthodontists, approach treatment. Forty years ago it was typical to wait for all the permanent teeth to erupt before initiating treatment. Often times, crowding was so severe that the teeth struggled to erupt and in cases of severe crowding, extraction of permanent teeth was recommended. Nowadays, we take a more proactive approach and create a harmonious skeletal structure through growth modification. The key is to initiate treatment at the quintessential time, when the permanent teeth are at the ideal stage of development and the skeletal structure is still in formation. This occurs in pre-pubertal children, where the bones of the jaw are not yet fused.
In this small window of opportunity with the use of partial braces, expanders and space maintainers we are able to create more space and preserve existing space to alleviate crowding and allow the developing teeth to erupt. I liken this as needing to create a parking space for each tooth to pull into, similar to a car in a garage. By setting ourselves up for success in this way, teeth erupt into healthy bony and soft tissue support. While not every child needs a first phase of treatment, when indicated, it sets us up for success and lifetime of healthy teeth.