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When should my child be seen for an orthodontic evaluation?

October 15th, 2019

Thanks for asking! It really depends on the dental age of the patient rather than their chronological age. Usually a good time to have your child evaluated by an orthodontist is after the front permanent teeth have erupted into the mouth or if there appears to be extreme crowding of the teeth.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children between the ages of seven and nine should be evaluated by an orthodontist. There are times when an early developmental treatment is indicated to correct situations before they become major problems. In these circumstances the patient will most likely benefit from a second phase of orthodontics when all of their permanent teeth have erupted.

Most full orthodontic treatment begins between ages nine and 14, and lasts from one to three years, with two years being the average. It’s important, however, that children be screened at an early age for Drs. Kerr and Levy and our staff to assess if your child can benefit from orthodontic treatment and when treatment should begin.

We hope this helps, and invite you to give us a call if you have any questions about your child’s treatment at Grace Kerr Orthodontics.

Orthodontics: From Tooth Fairy to Retainer

October 8th, 2019

You might be surprised to learn that Drs. Kerr and Levy and our team recommend an orthodontic appointment even before your child has had that last visit from the Tooth Fairy. In fact, orthodontic assessments at our Cincinnati office can be beneficial at many stages of your child’s life. Let’s look at some of the reasons why.

The Right Spaces

There’s a reason why we recommend that every child see an orthodontist by the age of seven. If there’s room enough in your child’s mouth to accommodate all the permanent teeth that will be arriving soon, you’re good to go. But if it looks like there won’t be enough space for those adult teeth, there are solutions we can offer to make the transition from baby teeth to adult teeth a smoother one.

  • If your child’s mouth is small, the permanent teeth might have too little room to fit in when they arrive. We may recommend gently enlarging the upper dental arch with the use of a palatal expander. This device will provide room for the adult teeth, and could potentially shorten second phase treatment time.
  • Too much space can also be a problem. If a child loses a baby tooth too soon, too much space between the remaining teeth can cause them to shift out of position, leaving the wrong spot open for the adult tooth to come in. We might recommend a space maintainer so that there is no shifting of the teeth, and there is room for the adult tooth to erupt in its proper spot.
  • If there is a bite problem, early treatment can prevent more serious problems down the road.

If no treatment is necessary immediately, we can monitor the development of your child’s teeth and bite during periodic visits.

(Stay in) The Right Places

Once your child has achieved that perfect smile, it’s time to maintain it. Teeth actually move and shift throughout our lives, whether we have had orthodontic treatment or not. But with orthodontic treatment, the bone tissue and ligaments around the teeth remodel over time to hold the teeth in their new and improved positions. That’s why it’s often important to wear a retainer constantly for several months after the braces come off, as bone and ligament become a firm, strong anchor for the newly aligned teeth and bite.

But there’s no one expiration date on retainers! Worn nightly as needed, they help teeth stay securely in their new positions for a lifetime of beautiful smiles.

Healthy Smiles Mean Happy Faces

If you think your child is ready for any phase of orthodontic work, give us a call. We will be happy to make sure there is ample room for permanent teeth to erupt in their proper spots even during the baby teeth years. If braces are indicated at a later date, we will analyze any potential alignment and bite problems and present all of your treatment options. Finally, after the orthodontic work is completed, we want to make sure your child knows the best way to maintain that beautiful smile with conscientious retainer wear.

If you have any concerns about your child’s teeth or bite, even before the permanent teeth arrive, give our Cincinnati office a call. Early treatment can often prevent future problems and might even lead to faster orthodontic results. At each stage of your child’s growth, we are here to provide your best options for healthy, happy smiles.

SMILE LIKE IT’S 2020! A Healthy Smile Faster, with Fewer Appointments

October 7th, 2019

We do everything on our phones today, from listening to our kids’ favorite music to electronic banking, to seeing who is at our front door while we’re away from home. We’re excited to announce that at our practice you can now use your phone to manage your orthodontic treatment too! Using Dental Monitoring™, we can convert a patient’s (or parent’s) phone into a remote monitoring device that helps us straighten smiles... with an app! Hello 2020!

How does Dental Monitoring work?

We start with a complimentary consultation. We’ll then take images and then create virtual models of your child’s teeth (or yours!). Based on these models and our conversations, we will develop a treatment plan to help your child achieve the smile they’ve always wanted.

Dental Monitoring will help us guide your pathway to a straight smile with Clear Aligner Treatment. We load your virtual models into the Dental Monitoring system and then get to work fitting your child for aligners.

Time to go digital! We will set you up for a “Virtual Appointment” Schedule - you’ll get a notification from us on your personalized app which will walk you through taking a series of 13-15 pictures of your current smile. DM’s software automatically enhances and sequences those pics so that your orthodontist can track your teen’s treatment progress. These virtual appointments take about 3 minutes - talk about FAST! Check out this video to see how it works in more detail.

Why is Dental Monitoring so great?

Visit the office less often - our patients have busy schedules and we know it’s hard to fit in appointments between school, work, carpools, sports, rehearsals and other activities. Dental Monitoring allows us to monitor your progress remotely, which means fewer physical appointments.

No missing appointments - you can do them on the road! Well, we don’t recommend doing them while driving, but you know what we mean. Our app will send you reminders on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to take pictures - a virtual appointment.

Better precision - Since we’re getting more frequent data about your progress with the pictures you send us, we can make adjustments faster than we could if we didn’t see you for a whole month. Plus we can track aligners fitting which will allow us to make recommendations in real time.

Treatment times are faster - all those pictures allow us to detect issues faster and see your mouth more frequently. That means our in-person appointments (yes, we still do those, just less often), are so much more efficient. Efficiency = faster treatment times!

More communication means better compliance and improved confidence - using Dental Monitoring allows our patients to take an active role in achieving the smile of their dreams. Plus hearing from your orthodontist more frequently improves confidence and compliance.

Step into 2020! We live our lives virtually, so why would you trust your orthodontic care to someone who isn’t embracing technological advances? We’re helping to pioneer this awesome technology. Will you join us in stepping into 2020?

Click below to schedule a complimentary consultation and be the first to have your smartphone help straighten your - or your child’s - smile!

Year-End Insurance Reminder

October 1st, 2019

Now that October is upon us, Drs. Kerr and Levy and our team at Grace Kerr Orthodontics wanted to send you a friendly reminder to schedule your orthodontic appointment prior to the end of the year to take full advantage of any flex spend, health savings, or insurance benefits that you may have.

The end of the year is always a busy time so make your appointment now so you don’t lose your available benefits! Give us a call today!

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