Adult Orthodontics

From the Orthodontist's Desk

The blog of Dr. Anthony Lovrovich

Adult Orthodontics in Seattle and Kirkland, WA

My Response to the Wall Street Journal's Article on Early Orthodontic Treatment

Part One:

Early treatment has been around for a long time despite the author’s suggestion that there has been a 'shift' to early treatment around 1990. The reasons have also been multifactorial and as the definitions and comments at the end of the article specify; no single problem defines early treatment and each child has to be evaluated individually concerning the presenting problem as well as the parents concerns and the referring dentist.

I usually limit early treatment to Class III treatment for an underbite or severe crossbite resulting in a functional shift. These types of bites can lead to debilitating asymmetries in the mandbular growth and permanent skeletal deformities that can be quite obvious in facial symmetry and function.

Another concern that is not mentioned in the WSJ article, but one of the most difficult to treat, is anterior open bites (front teeth that do not overlap or contact). This bite is the result of skeletal imbalances in growth and/or from functional problems from environmental issues or behaviors that might include tongue thrusts, finger or thumb sucking, tongue sucking, or object manipulation with the tongue and lips or teeth.

Part Two:

I think this article on the whole is fairly balanced and states the 'state of the art' in recent studies/research in orthodontics. It is still controversial in some areas since early treatment is still done on a wholesale basis without consideration of future necessary treatment, so there is some resistance to the latest research.

It is my belief, that on the whole, most orthodontists in this country believe that early treatment is only needed for those situations I mentioned above and of course for those parents/referring dentists who think its use is needed for other social/psychological issues the child may be dealing with. 

Please let me know if you have any questions regarding the above.

Here is the link to the complete Wall Street Journal article, The 8-Year-Old With a Perfect Smile.

Remember, it’s never too late to get the smile of your dreams. Call and schedule your orthodontic exam and consultation with Dr. Lovrovich today! Use our online appointment request form or call (206) 525-7000 in Seattle, (425) 821-0808 in Kirkland, Washington.

Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics American Association of Orthodontists
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