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What are the benefits of early
orthodontic evaluation?

Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and
greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Improving smile
esthetics can dramatically improve a child's self esteem in their early years. Additional benefits include: improving some speech problems, creating facial symmetry, influencing jaw growth in a positive manner and harmonizing the width of the dental arches. Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. Beginning treatment at this time ensures the best result and the least amount of time and expense. The American Association of Orthodontists (http://www.braces.org) recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment if necessary.

Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?

By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the bite of the back teeth. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate front-to back and side-to-side tooth relationships. Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile. For most, the principle immediate benefit is a parent's peace of mind. A pediatric dentist or a general (family) dentist who makes timely referrals is rightly regarded as informed, caring and concerned for the total well being of the patient.

Aren't smiles created equally in all offices?

Orthodontists have had an additional 2-3 years of orthodontic residency training after dental school to understand the complexities of skeletal development, tooth movement, and surgical orthodontics. This thorough training affords orthodontists the knowledge and skill necessary to diagnose and treat all types of skeletal and dental tooth alignment problems. Additionally, only 17% of orthodontists nationwide have received specialty certification by the only organization legally recognized by the American Dental Association. Dr. Chris is an Orthodontic Specialist with Board Certification by the American Board of Orthodontics.

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