For Adults and Children
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile and the improved facial esthetics that accompany orthodontic treatment. One of every five patients in orthodontic treatment is over the age of 21. While excellent treatment results can usually be obtained, adult patient treatment may be more involved than the treatment of children. Adults may have experienced some loss or excessive wear of their teeth and/or breakdown of the bone that supports the teeth. Bone loss can limit the amount and direction of tooth movement that is advisable, thus leading to some compromise in the final treatment results. If these conditions exist and it is indicated, Dr. Harrison will refer you to a Periodontist for a consultation and any necessary treatment which will help to establish our Orthodontic treatment goals.
Orthodontics for Children & Teens
Although he limits his practice exclusively to Orthodontics, Dr. Harrison has Specialty Degrees in both Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics. This uniquely qualifies him in providing early treatment for children. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive an orthodontic evaluation by age 7. At this age, the first permanent molars and incisors have usually come into the mouth. It is at this time that crowding, crossbites, and other developing problems can be initially evaluated and treated.
If early treatment is indicated, it is usually for a short period of time, 6–12 months. This is referred to as Phase I Treatment. Some of the goals of Phase I Treatment may be to:
- Guide the growth of the jaws to correct imbalances (overbites, underbites, crossbites)
- Guide the eruption of incoming permanent teeth
- Correct the alignment of the front teeth
- Develop the width of the upper and lower dental arches to gain space for permanent teeth, thus avoiding the need for later permanent tooth extractions
- Correct unwanted habits such as thumb, finger, or lip-sucking, abnormal swallowing patterns or tongue thrusting.
In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment by correcting minor problems before they become major problems.