Oak Tree Kids Dental

Specializing in Pediatric Dentistry

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(732) 906-2001


You're ready to get your child's smile fixed. What happens next?

In this section we give you an overview of orthodontic treatment. We’ll let you know if your child is a candidate for braces, the importance and benefits of early treatment, how long treatment will last... all you need to know.

Who Needs Braces?

Ask yourself - or have your have your child ask - this question: "Do I like my smile?" If the answer is no and orthodontics can help, then seeking treatment can be one of the best investments you'll ever make. After all, a smile is a priceless, precious asset - one that lasts for a lifetime. And people who have corrective orthodontic treatment - at any age - are invariably glad they did.
It's not just about appearance, either. "Malocclusions" or "bad bites", can affect the way you chew, talk, or smile, and can even lead to more serious (and expensive) oral health problems. Here are some of the common conditions that can be corrected with orthodontic treatment:

  • Crowded teeth - teeth are crooked, turned, or "overlapping"
  • Overbite - the upper jaw or teeth are too far in front, or the lower too far back
  • Underbite - the lower jaw or teeth are too far in front, or the upper too far back
  • Overjet (Protrusion) - the upper teeth stick out and do not fit with the lower front teeth
  • Spacing - teeth that have gaps or spaces between them

Interceptive Orthodontics

To ensure the best overall dental and facial development, all children should have an orthodontic consultation sometime between the ages of three to five. Usually, nothing more than observation is needed but if a problem is evident, taking action early (interceptive orthodontics) can spare a lot of treatment and expense down the road. By age seven the first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in, and crossbites, crowding or protrusions can be evaluated. At this time, we can identify current or anticipated dental problems and determine the best time for treatment.

Benefits of Early Treatment

Many problems can be treated before all permanent teeth are in. If you suspect your child has a bite problem, or if his or her teeth, lips, or jaw doesn’t look normal for their age, make sure they get checked out.

  • Difficulty chewing
  • Open-mouth breathing
  • Thumb or finger sucking

And here's what early treatment can do:
  • Minimize severe bite problems
  • Improve facial appearance and self-esteem
  • Correct functional problems
  • Minimize the effects of abnormal growth patterns
  • Reduce protrusion so that front teeth are less susceptible to injury
  • Minimize or eliminate the need for extraction of permanent teeth
  • Reduce a serious mismatch in the growth of the upper and lower jaws
  • Eliminate adverse habits such as thumb/finger sucking
  • Make the treatment with braces easier and shorter

How Long Will Treatment Last?

The length of treatment for each patient varies based on the patient's age, severity of the bite, and correction needs - treatment can vary from six months to three years. After the braces are removed, a retainer is prescribed and is to be worn continually for a few months, or a few years, in order to set the tissues surrounding the newly straightened teeth. When it's time, we will inform you that you can now just wear the retainer at night or occasionally to make sure the teeth do not shift. In some cases, a permanent retainer can also be prescribed, which is a metal wire that is bonded to the back of the teeth to ensure that the teeth remain in proper position.

Braces are used to straighten your teeth gradually - not overnight - so a little patience is needed during the process. Patient cooperation with every step of the prescribed treatment plan is essential to the success of treatment. This means wearing the appliances as prescribed, keeping your scheduled appointments and keeping the teeth extra clean. Braces are used to produce slight pressure on each tooth and we make regular adjustments to maintain this directional pressure. The teeth and jaws may be a little sore after each visit, but the discomfort will be brief. Your beautiful, healthy smile, however, will last a lifetime.