How do I know if my child is in need of orthodontic treatment?

It is not usually difficult for you to determine if your child needs orthodontic treatment. Problems such as crowding, habits, overbite, protruding teeth, underbite, etc., are relatively easy to identify. There are many problems that occur even though the front teeth look straight. Also, there are some problems that look intimidating and complex which will resolve on their own. Asking your general dentist is good reference, but we are your best resource since orthodontics is all we do. Our initial exam is complimentary and we would be more than happy to see your child and make any recommendations necessary.

What are the early symptoms of orthodontic problems?

As a parent, I believe this “age-old adage” is true for many things, including orthodontics. If you think your child needs treatment, he or she probably does. That said, the following symptoms may help in prompting you to seek our orthodontic advice. Ask your child to open their mouth and let you look at their teeth. If you see any signs of crooked teeth, gaps between your child’s teeth or overlapping teeth, your child may need orthodontic treatment.

Ask your child to bite all the way down, but keeping their lips open so you can see their teeth. Do the front top teeth line up with the bottom? Do the top teeth protrude out away from the bottom teeth? Do the top front teeth cover more than 50% of the bottom teeth? Are the top teeth behind the bottom teeth? All these are indicators for potential orthodontic treatment. Look at the alignment of your child’s jaw. Does the jaw shift off center when your child bites down? If you see any misalignment or shifting of the jaw, your child may have a skeletal problem, which requires early orthodontic intervention. These are only some of the obvious symptoms of orthodontic problems.

What age should my child be seen by an orthodontist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child be evaluated by age 7. Early detection of some orthodontic problems is important in order to take early corrective action and avoid more difficult treatment later. However, orthodontists can improve most malocclusions at any age. There is usually an optimum age in terms of the amount of improvement that can be achieved, the type of treatment employed, and cost incurred. That best age is different for every patient!

Is age a factor?

The earlier we see patients, the more options we have to correct problems. However, age is not a barrier. As long as the supporting structures (bone and soft tissue) are healthy, it is never too late to improve your orthodontics and/or cosmetic appearance. We have patients in our practice ranging in age from four to eighty!

What about oral hygiene?

Wearing braces is NOT harmful to your teeth. However, braces will "trap" most foods, especially sticky or sugary foods. This can cause a film to form on the teeth called plaque. Plaque - if not removed - can cause discolorations (white spots) and/or become cavities. With proper oral hygiene this problem is TOTALLY PREVENTABLE.

When your braces are placed, you will receive a thorough orientation during which you will receive a "kit" containing everything you will need to maintain healthy teeth during treatment. We will also go over:

  • How to Brush & Floss with Braces
  • Foods to Avoid
  • What to do if something comes loose
  • Mouth Guards for sports

Remember: Braces can't cause cavities, so proper brushing and flossing is important. We monitor oral hygiene at each visit and provide corrective measures when necessary.​

Will it hurt?

Orthodontic treatment has improved dramatically. As a rule, having orthodontic appliances placed is painless. Your teeth may become sore for a few days, but it is not painful. This annoyance can be relieved with an over-the-counter pain reliever. Today’s braces are smaller, more comfortable and use technology that reduces the discomfort. We use the latest in miniature braces and the highest quality orthodontic materials in order to reduce discomfort and treatment time.

Can I still have braces if I have missing teeth?

Yes. When teeth are missing, adjacent teeth will often drift into the empty space. This will cause a functional, aesthetic or periodontal problem. Orthodontic treatment will correct and prevent these problems and will also provide proper alignment for your dentist to replace the missing teeth.

What about crowns, veneers, and implants?

Usually, dental restorations pose little or no problem to achieving successful results.

What is Early (Two-Phase) Treatment?

The American Association of Orthodontists - as do I - believes that your child’s initial screening should be around age 7. This does not mean that all 7-year-olds need to be treated, but it does give the orthodontist the ability to intercept very difficult growth problems and treat them if necessary. Most children, if seen by the age of 6 or 7, can benefit from all of the advantages of early treatment. The ability to have the greatest degree of orthopedic control is the single greatest advantage of early treatment. Very simply this means that we, as an orthodontic team, can have the most effect on:

  • Changing abnormal growth patterns & eliminating harmful habits
  • Increasing the size of the jaws to accommodate all the permanent teeth. This greatly decreases the need to extract.
  • Correcting the front-to-back relationship of the upper and lower jaws: excessive overbite, underbite.
  • Correcting the side-to-side relationship of both jaws (expansion).
  • Producing wonderful facial profiles and aesthetics as well as assisting in the development of exquisite smiles

Ideally we want to intercept problems while a large amount of growth and facial development remains. By the age of 12 years, 90% of a child’s facial development is completed. In most cases, first phase treatment takes 12-18 months. Following Phase I, your child will have a retainer placed. We will then monitor your child every 4 months (at no charge) until the remaining permanent teeth erupt. Almost all Phase I patients will require a second phase, however, this "finishing" phase will be much simpler.

For more information, click here: Phase I (Early) Treatment

What if my 7-year-old doesn’t need early treatment?

Your child will be placed in our Pre-Orthodontic Guidance (POG) Program.

What is the Pre-Orthodontic Guidance Program? (POG)

Dr. Rosenberg has developed this unique, no-cost program especially for children who are not quite ready to begin orthodontic treatment. Dr. Rosenberg prefers to examine and closely monitor individual development, as growth and development varies greatly in children. Regular monitoring allows Dr. Rosenberg to determine the ideal time for your child to start orthodontic treatment and ensures optimum results. This complimentary program includes all pre-orthodontic visits and X-rays. We look forward to providing your child with the best orthodontic care possible!

What are alternatives to “traditional” metal braces?

Depending on your individual needs, there are three excellent alternatives to traditional metal braces.

  1. Ceramic (clear) braces – can often be used to treat even the most challenging problems. They are far less visible than traditional metal braces.
  2. Lingual (behind-the-teeth) braces are the only appliances on the market today that are truly invisible. They are very effective and fast in treating crooked front teeth, spacing and relapse problems. Since we are not generally correcting the bite in these cases treatment often takes 6-12 months.
  3. Clear Aligner Treatment (Invisalign®, etc.) is a series of clear, plastic aligners that are a good alternative treatment for correcting crowded, crooked teeth or spacing. Dr. Rosenberg firmly believes that your treatments goals and the appliances used should be of major importance.

How long does treatment take?

Obviously this depends entirely on the kind of problems we are correcting. Full treatment – usually involving some degree of bite correction – can range from 1 to 2 years. Minor problems, such as alignment of the front teeth, usually take 6-12 months.