Posts for: May, 2016
Braces have been a rite of passage for teenagers for years. However, the process for braces begins well before the teenage years. Do you know if your child requires orthodontic care? Learn more about orthodontic care and its process with help from your St. Louis, MO dentist.
Orthodontics: Early Intervention and Prevention
Phase One orthodontics is considered early treatment and refers to children who begin the orthodontic process between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase Two orthodontics refers to children who begin their orthodontic treatment at age 11 or older. Depending on the child’s teeth, their growth patterns, and their bite placement, orthodontic treatment may begin before the child has lost all of their baby teeth. Your St. Louis orthodontist can help you determine the best time to begin treatment for your child.
Why begin orthodontic treatment so early?
An orthodontic screening usually takes place by the time a child is 7 years old. Ultimately, an orthodontic screening determines if orthodontic treatment is necessary for your child. The screening examines the child’s bite pattern and determines if the rate of eruption of their permanent teeth is on track. Early treatment takes advantage of a child’s still-growing mouth and jaw and uses them to its advantage by guiding their growth. Your orthodontist can effectively monitor and manipulate the course on which the teeth and jaw grow, potentially decreasing treatment time and future complications. This process could greatly reduce the chance of necessary extractions or potential tooth or bite problems later on in life.
How do I know my child requires an orthodontic screening?
Children who require orthodontic treatment often exhibit certain symptoms, including:
- difficulty chewing or swallowing
- early or late eruption of permanent teeth
- overcrowding or gaps
- mouth breathing
- teeth which do not grow together properly or at all
If you are unsure whether your child requires orthodontic treatment, schedule an appointment with your dentist to ensure your child receives the proper care. For more information on orthodontic care for your child, please contact Dr. Jeffery J. Johnson and Dr. Jodi B. Johnson in St. Louis, MO. Call (314) 427-7400 to schedule your appointment for orthodontic care today!
A woman as gorgeous and funny as Sofia Vergara surely planned to be a model and actress from the get-go, right? Wrong! Sofia’s first career choice actually was to be… a dentist! That’s right, the sexy star of TV’s Modern Family actually was only two semesters shy of finishing a dental degree in her native Columbia when she traded dental school for the small screen. Still, dental health remains a top priority for the actress and her son, Manolo.
“I’m obsessed,” she recently told People magazine. “My son thinks I’m crazy because I make him do a cleaning every three months. I try to bribe the dentist to make him to do it sooner!”
That’s what we call a healthy obsession (teeth-cleaning, not bribery). And while coming in for a professional cleaning every three months may not be necessary for everyone, some people — especially those who are particularly susceptible to gum disease — may benefit from professional cleanings on a three-month schedule. In fact, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to having professional teeth cleanings — but everyone needs this beneficial procedure on a regular basis.
Even if you are meticulous about your daily oral hygiene routine at home, there are plenty of reasons for regular checkups. They include:
- Dental exam. Oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease are much easier — and less expensive — to treat in the earliest stages. You may not have symptoms of either disease early on, but we can spot the warning signs and take appropriate preventive or restorative measures.
- Oral cancer screening. Oral cancer is not just a concern of the middle aged and elderly — young adults can be affected as well (even those who do not smoke). The survival rate for this deadly disease goes up tremendously if it is detected quickly, and an oral cancer screening is part of every routine dental visit.
- Professional teeth cleaning. Calcified (hardened) dental plaque (tartar or calculus) can build up near the gum line over time — even if you brush and floss every day. These deposits can irritate your gums and create favorable conditions for tooth decay. You can’t remove tartar by flossing or brushing, but we can clear it away — and leave you with a bright, fresh-feeling smile!
So take a tip from Sofia Vergara, and don’t skimp on professional cleanings and checkups. If you want to know how often you should come in for routine dental checkups, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor articles “Dental Hygiene Visit” and “Dental Cleanings Using Ultrasonic Scalers.”
When designing your new smile, we have a lot of options for changing how individual teeth look: from whitening discolored teeth to replacing missing teeth with life-like dental implants. But the problem may not be how your teeth look — in fact, individually they may look perfect. If they’re not straight, though, your smile won’t be as attractive as it could be.
We can address a poor bite (malocclusion) through the dental specialty of orthodontics. By moving misaligned teeth we may be able to transform your smile without any other dental work, or it could serve as a more solid foundation for other cosmetic enhancements. To find out if orthodontics can make a difference for you, you should begin with an initial visit to your general dentist. A thorough dental examination will enable them to tell you if correcting your bite could be a good option for you. If it is, they’ll most likely refer you to an orthodontist, a specialist in treating malocclusions.
The orthodontist will also perform an evaluation and get as complete a picture as possible of your particular bite problems. This examination will also include checking jaw growth and development in younger patients, how the affected teeth align with other teeth, and if your current bite is having any effect on the jaw joints. This will provide a good overview of not only the malocclusion but how it affects the rest of your mouth.
With this detailed analysis, they can then advise you on the best course of treatment. Most malocclusions can be corrected with braces or, increasingly, clear aligner trays. In certain situations, though, more specialized approaches may be needed, such as isolating only certain teeth for movement.
While orthodontic treatment takes time and can be expensive, the end result can be amazing: an improved bite that not only enhances your appearance but improves function and long-term health. Along with other cosmetic enhancements to your teeth and gums, orthodontics can give you a new sense of confidence in your smile.
If you would like more information on improving your smile with orthodontic treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Magic of Orthodontics.”