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Early Orthodontic Care

Comprehensive Orthodontic Care For Children

At Backus Smiles we believe that early interception is key to providing our patients with successful orthodontic treatment. We offer our patients a complimentary first exam so that our orthodontist, Dr. Dominique Backus, can accurately diagnose and prescribe treatment for any potential problems. If after your child’s first visit with us it is determined that they require orthodontics, we will design a customized treatment plan just for them.

Happy patient with Dr. Backus and a team member after the patient got her braces put on, Backus Smiles

What Is Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment?

First Phase Treatment – Interceptive

The treatment objective of an early phase of orthodontic treatment is to intercept and correct problems at an early age that may result in a dental or skeletal discrepancy too severe to achieve an ideal result with braces alone, once all of the permanent teeth have erupted or growth is complete. Early treatment benefits are well known nationwide and have been endorsed by the American Association of Orthodontists for a number of years.

By age 12, 90% of a child’s face has fully grown. It is not consistent with a preventive philosophy to wait until 90% of a deformity is complete before instituting treatment. In many cases, early treatment can intercept a deformity and prevent it from getting worse. Most problems can be classified into one of four groups:

  • Skeletal
  • Dental
  • Damaging habits
  • Airway obstruction

Children sometimes exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. Skeletal problems arise from an upper or lower jaw that is growing too much or not enough, or is too narrow or crooked, directly affecting the relationship of teeth and jaws. Dental problems arise mostly due to insufficient jaw length (crowding) or width. Damaging habits arise from thumb sucking, tongue thrusting and abnormal swallowing patterns and can also be quite detrimental to both the teeth and jaws. Airway obstruction is a severe problem in a growing child. Signs that your child may be suffering from airway issues include, but are not limited to: bed wetting, looking& feeling tired in the morning, snoring, sleeping with the head flexed backward, and bruxism (teeth grinding).

Little girl getting treatment at Backus Smiles

Benefits Of Early Interceptive Treatment

Since children are growing rapidly and tend to be better cooperators at an early age, they can benefit tremendously from an early phase of orthodontic treatment. Early correction from these three groups may prevent later removal of permanent teeth, surgical procedures to align the upper and lower jaw, injury to protruded teeth, decrease the time needed for a second phase of treatment and eliminate damaging habits. Depending on the severity of these problems, children around the age of 7 or the first recognition of an orthodontic problem may be candidates for an early phase of orthodontic treatment.

Resting Period

After completion of early treatment, most patients enter a resting period. During this time, the remaining permanent teeth are allowed to erupt. Retainers are usually worn until most, if not all, permanent teeth have erupted. The retainer is adjusted as needed to allow for further tooth eruption. A successful first phase of treatment creates an environment which permits the remaining teeth to erupt on their own.

Because the majority of permanent teeth have not erupted prior to the end of an initial phase of treatment, a second phase of treatment is usually required to align the teeth in their final positions. Selective removal of baby teeth may also be required during this phase to enhance the eruption of the remaining permanent teeth. Therefore, your child will be monitored approximately every 6 months during the resting phase.

Little boy getting treatment at Backus Smiles

Second Phase Treatment

As William Proffitt, a renowned orthodontist and teacher once said, “we are rarely so successful in a first phase of treatment that a second phase will not be required.” We advise all parents and patients that a second phase of treatment will normally be required once all the permanent teeth have erupted.

Each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. Our final ultimate goal of treatment is to achieve good facial balance and esthetics, with the teeth functioning properly in harmony with the muscle and joints.

At the beginning of the first phase of treatment, orthodontic records are made and a diagnosis and treatment plan is established. Certain appliances are utilized to make the proper corrections.

The second phase of treatment is initiated once all the permanent teeth have erupted and braces are worn for approximately 18-24 months to achieve the final objective.

Schedule Your Child’s Complimentary Orthodontic Exam

Early interception is key to providing your child with more efficient and successful treatment. Please contact us to schedule your child’s first visit! During the complimentary evaluation, Dr. Backus and her team will provide your child with a thorough oral exam as well as outline the suggested treatment plan. Our office is conveniently located in Birmingham and Sylacauga, and we extend our expertise to children, teens and adults in Birmingham, Sylacauga, and the surrounding communities.

We look forward to meeting you and your child soon!