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Everett, WA 98204 

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Orthodontics for Kids and Teenagers:

What are the benefits of an early orthodontic evaluation?

An early orthodontic evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and the opportunity for more effective and efficient treatment. When appropriate, early intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, the orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment, if necessary when the time is ideal.

Why is age 7 the ideal time for an orthodontic evaluation with Dr. Pellegrini?

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that each child has an orthodontic evaluation by no later than age 7. It is best to have Dr. Pellegrini evaluate your child by age 7 so that he can determine if orthodontic treatment is necessary at an early age or if future orthodontic treatment may be required. This is the best age to see the orthodontist, because the first of the adult teeth (first ‘permanent’ molars and incisors) have usually come in by age 7.  With this mix of baby and adult teeth, orthodontists can recognize existing or potential future problems in dental and jaw/facial development. Furthermore, many orthodontic problems such as cross-bites, crowding, impactions, missing teeth and other issues can be recognized and addressed most effectively and efficiently earlier than later.

What are the advantages of early orthodontic treatment?

When early orthodontic treatment is needed, and begun at the appropriate age, the orthodontist can guide the growth and development of the jaws and make space for and/or guide the incoming adult or ‘permanent’ teeth. Early treatment can also harmonize the width of the upper and lower dental arches, create space for adult teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking and other habits, and eliminate abnormal tongue swallowing or speech problems. Many times early treatment is not needed, and the recommendation is that your child be monitored and scheduled to be seen on a regular basis so that Dr. Pellegrini can continue to observe your child’s orthodontic needs and make sure that your child’s facial and dental growth is optimal. Early evaluation allows Dr. Pellegrini to recommend the optimal time for treatment and ensures that your child’s facial growth and dental development are proceeding in the healthy manner.

If my children’s teeth appear straight, is there any reason for an orthodontic evaluation?Madeline rocked her time in braces. She now has a smile that is as stunning as she is!

It is important to note that many orthodontic problems are not always noticeable or obvious, and while your children’s teeth may appear straight, there may be an underlying orthodontic problem that only your orthodontist can recognize. Therefore it is always a good idea to have your child be evaluated so that any potential problems do not go undetected.

Early Treatment Benefits include some of the following:

  • Ensures proper and symmetric facial growth and development
  • Improves self-esteem, self-confidence during the formative years in cases of teasing
  • Reduces protruding ‘buck’ teeth so that they are less prone to injury
  • Discontinues damaging habits such as thumb-sucking, tongue habits and speech issues
  • Reduces the need for the removal (extraction) of adult (permanent) teeth
  • Creates space for adult (permanent) teeth so that they are guided into better position rather than coming in crooked in the first instance      
  • Corrects cross-bites, and corrects the width of the upper and lower jaws or dental arches
  • Takes advantage of growth through modifying the child’s facial developmental growth processes
  • Reduces the possibility of impactions or ‘blocked out’ permanent teeth

In simple terms: Early treatment can often make later treatment simple and prevent larger problems from developing. Therefore it is always a good idea to have Dr. Pellegrini evaluate your child’s needs at an early age, and have an orthodontic evaluation by no later than age 7 or 8.

What is Full or ‘Comprehensive’ Orthodontic Treatment for Children, Pre-teens and Teens?

Full orthodontic treatment is common for children in the adolescent years, as pre-teens and teenagers usually have all or most of their adult teeth, making it possible for the orthodontist to fully correct the bite and align all the teeth. Full treatment (also called ‘comprehensive treatment’) usually entails full upper and lower braces on all teeth. Sometimes other appliances or additional treatment aids may also be utilized depending on your child’s specific treatment plan and treatment needs.

In simple terms: Full orthodontic treatment, consisting of upper and lower braces, is most commonly started during the pre-teen and teenage years, when all or most of the adult teeth have come in.

How long does orthodontic treatment for my child take?

The time in braces ranges from as little as a few months to up to 2 or 3 years, depending on the type of orthodontic problems that are to be corrected, with more complex problems usually taking more time. Most patients are usually done with their treatment in less than two years—It is important, however, to note that a variety of factors influence the time in braces in addition to the complexity of the orthodontic problem. There are things that each child and family can do to help ensure that treatment progresses as efficiently as possible, such as making all your appointments, and doing a good job of what Dr. Pellegrini and the team ask of you…(such exercising great oral hygiene, and wearing any rubber bands, or other appliances that are specific to your treatment.)