Your little one is growing up fast. Their adult teeth are growing in. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a check-up with an orthodontic specialist by age 7. Once you’ve made the appointment for your child’s first orthodontic appointment, what should you expect?
The orthodontist will be looking for problems related to the growth of the jaws and erupting teeth. There will be new terms used during the consultation that you might want to be familiar with.
Phase I Treatment – This refers to early or interceptive treatment that is done before all the baby teeth have fallen out. In this phase of treatment, the orthodontist may have a chance to:
- Lower risk of trauma to protruded (buck) front teeth
- Correct harmful oral habits
- Improve appearance
- Guide permanent teeth into more favorable position
- Improve the way lips meet
- Guide jaw growth
Phase I treatment does not necessarily eliminate the need for full braces once all the teeth have grown in.
Phase II Treatment – This refers to traditional orthodontic treatment with braces once the adult teeth have grown in.
Overjet – How much the front teeth stick out over the bottom teeth
Overbite – How much the top teeth overlap the bottom teeth.
Crossbite – A crossbite is when a tooth or multiple teeth are crossed over to bite to the inside of the opposing tooth or teeth. It can be the back (posterior), front (anterior), one side (unilateral) or both sides (bilateral).
Expander – An expander is a device used to expand the bone. Most commonly used in the upper arch (palate). Arch expansion is one of the most common ways to eliminate crowding and crossbites in patients. An expander is attached by bands placed around the teeth. Although there are removable expanders, fixed ones have an important advantage in that they cannot be lost or forgotten.
Removable Retainers – Retainers are used to hold your teeth in place once your orthodontic treatment is completed. They are classically made of acrylic and stainless steel wires and are worn at night after a period of full-time wear.