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Gina Pinamonti DDS
Dr. Gina Pinamonti is an orthodontist in Pittsburg, KS. practicing since 1998. She is a graduate of Pittsburg State University. She completed her dental training at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry graduating with honors. She completed her Orthodontic and Dentofacial Orthopedic residency in 1998 from UMKC as well. Dr. Pinamonti is a member of the ADA, American Association of Orthodontists, Kansas Dental Association and the vice president of the Kansas Association of Orthodontists. For more information please call 620-231-6910 or visit www.smileoutloud.com.
2010-10-01 11:22:00
How young can kids get braces?
Answer: That is a very common question asked by parents. The short answer is that every child is different and should be evaluated by the time the permanent teeth start to come in, around 7 years old, or sooner. At that point the permanent first molars have erupted and the bite is established. This will indicate how the upper and lower jaws relate to each other. Ideally the upper front teeth should be slightly ahead of the lower teeth, but more often than not, the upper teeth are too far forward. If the child is experiencing repeated injury to the front teeth, teasing or low self esteem, then early treatment could be indicated, otherwise treatment could be put off until more permanent teeth are present. For those people who have the lower teeth in front of the upper teeth early treatment is very important. The lower jaw continues growing until the patient stops growing tall. If we can get the upper teeth in front of the lower teeth before 8 years of age then the jaws can grow in improved harmony reducing the chances for very involved orthodontic treatment when older. In addition to the bite and jaw relationship the initial exam will also evaluate other things which play a role in the type of future treatment and when treatment will begin. Things such as facial growth, crowding or missing teeth, improper swallow or tongue-thrusting and finger or thumb-sucking can hinder proper jaw development and tooth alignment, as well as affecting facial appearance. When the orthodontist evaluates the patient, if the condition does not necessitate early treatment, often called phase 1 treatment, your orthodontist will schedule follow-up exams to evaluate the development. The orthodontist will continue to monitor the patient’s growth and progress at varied intervals from 6 months to a year. In the vast majority of cases, braces or full treatment is appropriate between 11 and 15 years old to utilize the patient’s growth. As an adult treatment is still possible, we just do not have the growth to help with treatment. Many parents seek an early orthodontic consultation because there is something they do not like, such as an overbite or a thumb or finger habit. Early evaluation is key. Many people mistakenly believe that orthodontics must begin only after the permanent teeth come in. The truth is, many orthodontic problems are more easily treated well before that time and early treatment can eliminate the need for more drastic measures during future treatment. Something as simple as selective removal of certain baby teeth can improve the pattern of tooth eruption. In some cases, early treatment can correct problems that may not be possible once the face and jaws finish growing. While the bone is still growing, it is possible to use orthodontic appliances to apply force to the jaw to guide growth. Once the growth has ceased, the same opportunity no longer exists, making early evaluation even more important. Over all, the most important step you can take in your child's orthodontic care is early evaluation.
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