21 Muzzey St.
Lexington, MA 02421-5264
Tel: (781) 861-6120

The Transition to Orthodontics

Often, parents notice that their child needs an orthodontic evaluation. If not, Drs. Coppe and Coppe will alert you if your child needs to be evaluated. Not only can orthodontic treatment properly align teeth, but it can shape your child’s face and ultimately affect his or her self-esteem. The choice for orthodontic treatment should not be taken lightly.

For children, the two most common orthodontic problems are crowding and upper front teeth protrusion. Crowding occurs when teeth have insufficient room to erupt from the gums. Upper front teeth protrusion is characterized by the upper teeth extending too far forward or the lower teeth not extending far enough forward. The treatment for each problem differs by patient and by dentist. Each case is different, and each dentist will develop a different treatment plan. Parents can usually decide what treatment plan is best for their child by envisioning the final orthodontic result and communicating this vision to the dentist.

For example, crowding can often be corrected by expanding the palate to create room for the teeth. However, another dentist may suggest extracting teeth to create this needed space. With extraction, the facial profile is not changed as it is with expansion. The final treatment plan ultimately depends on the parent and the vision they have for their child’s final result.

If your child’s teeth are protruding, there are also different treatment plans. One method is to move the lower teeth and jaw forward using an appliance. This is usually recommended to patients who have smaller, further-set chins. This treatment option will change the patient’s facial profile and is considered “dentofacial orthopedics”. The other treatment method is to push the upper front teeth inward and bring the lower teeth forward a bit. These are two different treatment methods which can result in two different facial profiles.

Orthodontics is a science that combines a detailed treatment plan with the foresight to know how the treatment plan will make the child’s face look. Parents should envision how they want their child’s face and teeth to look, and choose the dentist who can make this vision a reality.