Types of Treatment

Braces for children and teens

The most common age for children to start orthodontic treatment is around the age of 10 to 12 years of age.  However, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends that your child visits with an orthodontist between their 7th and 8th birthday.  This is an excellent time for early detection of any problems that may exist, monitor your child’s development, and help determine if there is a need for preventative care to assist in treatment later.

At your child’s first visit at our office, Dr. Hess will determine if he or she is ready for braces or if there is any preventative treatment necessary.  If they are not quite ready for braces, your child will be placed on continued care so Dr. Hess can monitor your child’s growth, development, and eruption of permanent teeth periodically during the very important formative years until they are ready for full orthodontic treatment.

Early/Interceptive Treatment

Although most children will not need orthodontic treatment until they have lost most of their baby teeth, early treatment is sometimes recommended as a preventative measure in growing children.  The purpose of early treatment is to maximize the opportunity to affect the teeth and skeletal irregularities during the rapid growth period.

Here is a list of some common problems that may be addressed with early treatment:

  • Overbite: the bottom jaw is behind the top jaw
  • Underbite: the bottom jaw is in front of the top jaw
  • Openbite: the front teeth do not touch each other
  • Crossbite: the top teeth fit inside the bottom teeth
  • Habits: thumb or finger sucking or tongue habits
  • Excessive Crowding

The goal of Early/Interceptive treatment is to help the jaw develop and grow in a way that will facilitate the eruption of all the permanent teeth and help the way the upper and lower jaws fit together.  This treatment is typically done around the age of 7-10.  Once the early treatment has been completed, the braces or appliances will be removed and your child will go through a resting period in which no active treatment is conducted.  The teeth will still be moving and adjusting to the growth of your child.  Dr. Hess will continue to monitor your child periodically to determine if they will need full orthodontic treatment when all of the permanent teeth have erupted.

If Dr. Hess determines that early treatment is not necessary, your child will be placed on continued care in which he or she will be monitored periodically to monitor the growth, development, and eruption of the permanent teeth until they are ready for full braces.

Braces for adults

It’s never too late to feel good about yourself!  Many adults are seeking orthodontic treatment at our office because they understand the importance of maintaining their health.  Braces at a later stage in life can improve your quality of life dramatically by not only increasing your self esteem, but improving the function of your teeth.  Adult patients are highly motivated and cooperative with treatment and not only like the cosmetic changes but also feel much better physically when their face, jaws and bite are properly treated.  We offer many different options for our adult patients including clear/ceramic braces and invisalign.

Orthognathic Surgery

Jaw surgery (orthognathic surgery) is used to correct abnormalities of the skeletal bones of the face and jaws that can not be corrected with braces alone.  The skeletal abnormalities may lead to problems such as difficulty chewing and biting and normal day to day activities.  Orthognathic surgery can correct many of these problems and can improve your overall appearance.

If Dr. Hess determines that surgery is needed as a part of your orthodontic treatment, she will refer you to an oral surgeon to discuss your treatment options in further detail before placing your braces.  Dr. Hess works very closely with your oral surgeon to create the best plan for you.  Once a plan has been developed, your braces will be placed and treatment will begin.  When your orthodontic treatment has progressed and you are ready for the surgical correction, your surgery will be scheduled.  After a period of healing, Dr. Hess will “fine tune” your bite using the braces and wires.  Most people will wear their braces for 6-12 months following surgery to idealize the bite and your treatment.

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