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What is Orthodontic Treatment?

Orthodontics is the specialty of dentistry focused on the diagnosis and treatment of dental and associated facial irregularities.

Call us at West Seattle Orthodontics Phone Number (206) 938-9380 to find out how we can help you.

Overview

The results of orthodontic treatment can be dramatic — beautiful smiles, improved dental health and function, and an enhanced quality of life for people of all ages. Orthodontic problems, which can result from genetic and environmental factors, must be diagnosed before treatment begins. Proper diagnosis involves a comprehensive examination and includes photographs and  digital x-rays.

Treatment can last from 6 to 30 months, depending on age and the severity of the orthodontic problem. Outstanding results are also dependent on maximizing the coordination of care between you, your dentist, and our practice. We are committed to delivering the best possible service in order for you to achieve your orthodontic objectives.

Orthodontic Treatment Timing

Dr. Horwitz provides orthodontic treatment for adults, adolescents and children. We follow the guidelines established by the American Association of Orthodontists by recommending that an orthodontic evaluation take place at age 7 for all children. This early evaluation does not  mean that we will recommend treatment immediately,  but it will help to determine if treatment is necessary, and also to determine the best time to begin  treatment.

Two Phases or One Phase of Treatment

Many progressive treatments are now available for patients 7 to 11 years of age with mixed baby teeth and permanent teeth.  These treatments – phase I –  can  provide significant benefits, especially when jaw irregularities or severe crowding are present, or if there is a condition that threatens the healthy and timely eruption of the permanent teeth.  These treatments will prevent conditions from worsening, and treating children with these types of problems during their growth stages allows us  to achieve results that may not be possible when face and jaw bones have fully developed.  This early treatment can eliminate additional treatment – such as extractions later- for the patient at this stage of dental development.

After this treatment is completed, there is a resting phase to allow all the permanent teeth to erupt and will also allow us to evaluate the patient for any remaining necessary treatment after all of the permanent teeth have erupted.

Often, if there are no immediate problems to correct, it is more convenient to treat young patients after all of their permanent teeth have erupted.  As long as the patient is still growing, it is possible to use growth modification appliances (an expander or headgear, for example) that will help to correct existing problems such as jaw irregularities or crowding.  Each patient is different, so not every child needs two phase treatment; we only recommend this when we feel that it is really necessary.