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Overbite/ Overjet - when the upper, front teeth significantly overlap or project over the bottom teeth

Some of the most direct results of early, interceptive treatment are:

  • Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth (narrow palette)
  • Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth (underbite or crossbite)
  • Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth (overjet or overbite)
  • Preserving space for unerupted teeth (losing primary teeth to early or unevenly)
  • Reducing time in braces when all permanent teeth are in

What are Reasons for Early, Interceptive Treatment-Phase 1?

Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. The presence of erupting incisors can indicate a possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, Dr. Lee offers complimentary Growth & Development monitoring to determine if and when to begin any treatment.

There are orthodontic issues that are best treated at and early age, while a child is still growing and young bones are still malleable. Sometimes when these issues are not treated early, surgery may be required later.

What are the Benefits to Early Evaluation?

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems OR no later than age 7. By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time, Dr. Lee can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant monitoring can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.

Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal period to begin treatment. Beginning treatment at this time ensures the greatest result and the least amount of time and expense.

At What Age Should My Child See an Orthodontist?

Treatment - A permanent appliance is placed on the upper palate that has "hooks" for rubber bands and for the "facemask" to attach.

Underbite - when the lower, front teeth significantly overlap the top teeth, trapping the upper teeth behind  the lower

Treatment - Brackets may be placed on the front teeth with bands on the back molars. Sometimes headgear may be required.

Treatment - A Rapid Palatal  Expander (RPE). A permanent appliance that slowly expands the palate so the upper teeth correctly overlap the bottom teeth.

Crossbite - when the upper teeth do not overlap the bottom teeth, particularly in the back

A patient of Dr. Lee's explains interceptive treatment (Phase 1) of his underbite using reverse headgear - "facemask."

*Video was filmed at Dr. Richard Lee's Northern Virginia office - Loudoun Orthodontics.