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When should my child see an Orthodontist?

August 27th, 2018

We hear this question a lot by our parents and even general and pediatric dentists.  The American Association of Orthodontists recommends the first visit to occur around age 7.  Your child's comprehensive exam with Dr. Altherr is complimentary and only takes about 30 to 45 minutes.  For most of the kids, Dr. A will say keep growing teeth, everything looks good, and we'll see you in about a year.  Also, for most kids, we will eventually wait to treat them when most of their adult teeth are in, which is around 11 for girls and 12 for boys.  For about 5-10% of the kids, however, they will have problems (below) that do require early treatment/intervention.

1) Posterior crossbites.

2) Underbites.

3) Thumb/finger habit after age 6.

4) Traumatic anterior crossbites.

5) Impacted teeth.

6) Ectopic teeth.

If early treatment is not performed prior to age 10, then  future treatment will be more complicated and expensive and even more importantly, less stable.  You do not need a direct referral from your dentist for Dr. Altherr to examine your child.  Also, some parents need the peace of mind to make sure that they are not missing something; so this exam would provide you the assurance that you are wanting.

Note: Dr. Edward Altherr is a board-certified orthodontist in private practice serving Apex, NC, and the surrounding towns/cities of Cary, Holly Springs, Morrisville and Fuquay-Varina.  Dr. Altherr’s training in orthodontics was at the prestigious University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s program where we studied under many great orthodontic icons like Dr. William Proffitt and Dr. Camilla Tulloch.  During his orthodontic training, Dr. Altherr’s research and further focus was on the orthodontic treatment of the mixed-dentition (mix of baby and adult teeth in kids between 6 and 14 yo).  With his research and over 16 years of clinical orthodontic experience as of 2018, Dr. Altherr is considered an expert in mixed-dentition orthodontics and other areas of orthodontics like temporary skeletal anchors.  This web blog is for educational purposes only.  Dr. Altherr is licensed only in the state of North Carolina, and cannot diagnose and recommend orthodontic treatment over the phone or internet.

What to do when your child is missing a permanent tooth/teeth?

July 2nd, 2018

Most of the time with children when a baby tooth is lost around 11 or 12, its loss is followed by the eruption of its permanent replacement. However, in about 5-10% of the population, the adult/permanent tooth never forms. The best way to confirm that an adult tooth is missing is via a panoramic x-ray.

The type of treatment and when to start it depends on the age of your child and other variables that may come into play like which adult tooth is missing, the crowding of the teeth and your child’s overall bite. These options can be to keep the baby tooth as long as possible, replace it in the future with an implant/crown or bridge or close the resulting space with orthodontic treatment. Just because a tooth is a baby tooth does not necessarily mean it cannot last a long time, and in the right situations, research out of the University of Iowa has shown that patients who retain their baby teeth (with no permanent replacement), 80% were able to keep the baby tooth well into their adulthood.

In other patients where and when the missing adult tooth will need to be replaced, orthodontic treatment is usually delayed until your child is a mid to late teenager if the replacement option is an implant and crown. If the replacement option is a bridge to replace the missing adult tooth, then orthodontic treatment could begin sooner and then followed with the bridge placed by your general dentist.

And finally in some cases, simply removing the retained baby tooth and orthodontically closing the resulting space may be the best option depending on the typical associated variables like which tooth is missing, overall crowding and your child’s bite. There can be many options for a missing tooth/teeth, so that’s why an orthodontist needs to be consulted so that your child can be accurately examined. With a thorough exam by an orthodontic specialist, you can be given a treatment plan that is customized to your child’s individual problems and your family’s needs.

Note: Dr. Edward Altherr is a board-certified orthodontist in private practice serving Apex, NC, and the surrounding towns/cities of Cary, Holly Springs, Morrisville and Fuquay-Varina. Dr. Altherr’s training in orthodontics was at the prestigious University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s program where we studied under many great orthodontic icons like Dr. William Proffitt and Dr. Camilla Tulloch. During his orthodontic training, Dr. Altherr’s research and further focus was on the orthodontic treatment of the mixed-dentition (mix of baby and adult teeth in kids between 6 and 14 yo). With his research and over 16 years of clinical orthodontic experience as of 2018, Dr. Altherr is considered an expert in mixed-dentition orthodontics and other areas of orthodontics like temporary skeletal anchors. This web blog is for educational purposes only. Dr. Altherr is licensed only in the state of North Carolina, and cannot diagnose and recommend orthodontic treatment over the phone or internet.

Braces or Invisalign as an Adult

May 29th, 2018

Adults comprise about 20% of most orthodontic practices’ patients across the US. Obstacles and/or questions that sometimes have prevented adults in the past from even obtaining a consult with an orthodontist have been the length of the overall time in treatment because they are busy with jobs and kids, the cost or am I too old or will I be the only adult amongst kids?

Over the years, our adult patients have been pleasantly surprised that the length of recommended treatment by Dr. Altherr is not years upon years like what they may remember as a teen or from what they’ve heard. The reasons why treatment times are shorter are from technological improvements and the fact that some adults only concern is straightening their front teeth, which may only require 6 months or less of treatment. Our oldest adult patient was in their 70’s, so some would say it’s just a number. Finally, we have some mornings where we see only adults.

We appreciate our adult patients because they are usually more invested and involved in their treatment primarily because they are paying for it (and not mom and dad). Therefore, adults are more compliant than kids with their oral hygiene and other things like wearing rubber bands or retainers.

The most common observation that we hear from our adult patients is the temporary irritation to their cheeks and lips from the braces in the first 2 weeks of treatment. After that, the irritation is not an issue because the lips/cheeks toughen up, and there essentially is no irrigation with clear aligner therapy like Invisalign.
So, we hope this information has helped. If so, please call us today for your complimentary exam with Dr. Altherr.

Welcome to Our Blog!

April 16th, 2018

Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog. Please check back often for weekly updates on fun and exciting events happening at our office, important and interesting information about orthodontics and the dental industry, and the latest news about our practice.
Feel free to leave a comment or question for our doctor and staff – we hope this will be a valuable resource for our patients, their families, and friends!

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