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A note about Growth

The first ten years of your child's life reveal many changes. Some of them are quite dramatic, others are very subtle; all of them important. The foundation for facial development occurs between the ages of six and eight. Prior to your child's eighth birthday, unfavorable facial growth patterns can be identified. When you look at your child do you notice the following:
  1. Their chin sticking out
  2. Their teeth fitting properly (top teeth positioned over bottom teeth)
  3. If you were to place a dot on the tips of the teeth in each arch, would a line connecting the dots form a "U" or a "V"
  4. Is your child comfortable with his/her mouth closed
  5. Your child has a chapped lower lip
  6. Your child has frequent colds, or sore throats
  7. Does your child have buck teeth?
  8. Is there any apparent crowding?
Any of the above could signify that your child is in need of orthodontics/orthopedic correction.

It is important to treat these problems at an early age, as 90 percent of all facial growth occurs before the age of 12. The advantages of early treatment can be summarized as follows:
  1. Better facial esthetics
  2. More lip support-creating a more beautiful smile
  3. Muscle forces are better distributed for more efficient chewing
  4. Stability of TMJ
  5. Greater stability, i.e. Less Chance of Relapse
To properly diagnose the problems, orthodontic records are taken at this office around the age of eight. This includes a profile x-ray (cephlometric), a panoramic x-ray, upper and lower impressions for models, a brief orthodontic/physical exam and photographs. Three weeks after this appointment the parent(s) are seen to discuss the findings and recommend treatment.

Once treatment is recommended, it is usually divided into two phases:

Phase 1 would encompass expanding the width (and sometimes length) of the dental arch to enable the jaws to develop to their correct size and proportion. This would allow room for the permanent teeth to erupt, or be redirected into their proper position. Also at this time, if there is a discrepency between the upper and lower jaw, this would also be corrected. Treating the individual between the ages of eight and twelve will create healthy and stable muscle-tooth-bone relationship serving as a sort of "biologic retainer"! Often this is done with the patient wearing apliances (see pictures) and without any tooth extractions.

Phase 2 or braces or Bioliners is done to straighten, align, and rotate the teeth, kind of a "fine tuning". This phase normally lasts only about 12 to 18 months.

An exception to the above treatment would be a crossbite. A dental crossbite refers to a situation when the lower teeth fit over the upper teeth. This could occur on one side or both sides of the child's jaws. Sometimes it is only present in the front of the mouth. For a crossbite, treatment is recommended as early as possible. The reason for this is to get the dental arches in their proper alignment allowing for the permanent teeth to erupt correctly. Treatment for crossbites can be started when the first permanent molars erupt (as early as age six).

Bioliners
Now, with Bioliners, teenagers can choose this esthetic alternative to braces as their phase 2 treatment. It is now possible to treat even the most complicated dental molocclusions without extractions, and by (wearing appliances for phase 1 and Bioliners for phase 2) without braces!

The patients wear the alligners 24 hours a day, only removing them when they eat. The alligners are worn for two weeks, then changed for the next set of alligners, which are worn for two weeks. The alligners are changed every two weeks until treatment is completed. The patient must have their second molars (12 year molars) in occlusion to be considered a candidate for Bioliners treatment. It is truely a remarkable way to treat patients. I used Bioliners on my son (age 15), and my wife (older than 15) and both were very happy with the results.

For photographs of actual Bioliner cases treated at our office please visit the photo gallery.