Adolescent Treatment

Although you should consult an orthodontist by the age of 7-8 years old (as recommended by the American Association of Orthodontist), most orthodontic treatment occurs between the ages of 10-15. My preferred period to begin treatment is when only 4-5 primary teeth remain in the mouth. This occur at different ages depending on the patient.

There are many advantages for starting treatment during this period. Very often friends will be undergoing treatment as well and serves as a motivating and encouraging factor. However the primary reason for treating at this age is the fact that an adolescent is in his growth spurt. We know that orthodontic treatment is best done when the child is in his maximum growth period. We use this growth to maximize or inhibit growth as needed.

Detailed explanations of orthodontic treatment can be found elsewhere in this web site. However, the following are examples of special situations in treating adolescents :

Impacted Cuspids

The Impacted Cuspid can be found either labial (towards the lip) or lingual (towards the tongue). In 85% of the cases, the cuspids are found lingual. Very often clinically the position can be determined just by palping the area. In most cases, the cause of impacted cuspid is genetic.

When impacted cuspids remains too long in the jaw, the sac encompassing the crown of the tooth will enlargen. This is called a follicular cyst and as with all cysts, it can induce damage by resorbing adjacent tissues. Here is how we retrieve an impacted cuspid.

The Forcus Appliance

The Forcus appliance is an orthodontic appliance that is affixed to the teeth. Springs mounted on the side of the appliance force the lower jaw forward upon closure of the jaws retraining the bite and correcting a Class II problem.

Greater forward displacement of the mandible is the predominant factor contributing to success when treating Class II patients with the Forcus appliance.

The appliance is made to align the teeth and reduce the overbite and promote the proper jaw growth in patients. It is mostly used in adolescents because that is the time the growth of the jaw in mainly taking place. Once the appliance is placed in the patient’s mouth it needs to stay there for 6 to 9 months depending on the severity of the case.

Lip Bumper

Lip Bumpers are used in our office to increase the width of the lower dental arch. Its use has also helped in increasing the perimeter of the arch thereby providing space for crowded teeth allowing us to treat without extractions. It is a very natural form of treatment and because of this is an effective means to obtain long-term stability.

Molar Distalization Appliance

The Molar Distalization Appliance is used to push the molar teeth farther back in the mouth to help create space for the permanent teeth to erupt, thereby facilitating the natural tooth eruption process. A bite plane (plastic shelf) is often used in the front part of the appliance to help in correction of a deep overbite