Through early treatment, Dr. Senties can help guide the permanent teeth into a healthy alignment as they’re erupting. Dr. Senties has years of experience providing gentle orthodontic care for young patients with growing mouths.
It’s not just about ‘straightening teeth’. It’s about establishing a healthy foundation to support a beautiful set of permanent teeth.
We’re proud to be a family friendly practice in San Antonio, where everyone is welcome.
The ideal time to begin orthodontic treatment is often times when the teeth and jaw bones are still developing. This is why the early teen years can be the best time to have an exam and start braces or clear aligner treatment.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, it’s best for children to receive their first orthodontic exam by age 7. During this time, the jaw bones haven’t fully developed yet and the permanent teeth are beginning to erupt.
When you bring your child in for his or her first orthodontic exam, this doesn’t mean treatment will begin immediately. Every child is different and every child’s smile develops at a unique rate. Dr. Senties will only suggest treatment if it can benefit your child’s quality of life.
If you notice any of the following signs in your child, he or she may benefit significantly from treatment.
Through early treatment, we aim to:
Early orthodontic treatment is most effective when separated into two phases, designed to work alongside the natural development of the teeth and jaw bones.
Phase 1 orthodontic treatment is typically completed between the ages of 7 and 12. The purpose of this treatment is to establish a strong foundation with a sufficient amount of space for permanent teeth to emerge in alignment.
If your child’s palate (upper arch) is too narrow, this will be apparent during this time. The palatal expander appliance is often used during phase 1 to widen the upper jaw, creating enough space for all permanent teeth to fit in the mouth without crowding or overlapping.
If your child has a severe “underbite” (the lower teeth being ahead of the upper teeth), orthopedic correction of this problem with the use of a headgear is most effective at this stage.
In most cases, phase 2 treatment will begin in the early teen years, when all (or most) baby teeth are lost, and all (or most) permanent teeth have fully emerged.
During this phase, we focus on the final position of all the teeth and jaw bones. Full orthodontic treatment with braces is often completed to establish a harmonious, proportionate facial appearance and to position the teeth in a straight and beautiful alignment.