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Does my child need two-phase treatment?

August 21st, 2019

Two-phase orthodontic treatment involves two separate and distinct periods that your child receives orthodontic treatment. It allows your son or daughter to begin early treatment of bite and jaw problems, in order to reduce the dental issues he or she experiences later on.

Two-phase orthodontic treatment with Dr. Kalfred Chun can improve how well the second phase of the treatment works and helps to make room for permanent teeth. Overall, two-phase treatment helps to position the teeth and the jaw for an attractive profile. Our team at Kalfred Chun, DDS, MS recommends that you bring your child to our Santa Maria office at the age of seven or eight, so that Dr. Kalfred Chun can determine if early (Phase-One) treatment is necessary.

Phase-One

Phase-One orthodontic treatment is known as early treatment. It begins shortly after your child’s first orthodontic examination, usually around age eight or nine. The main goal of Phase-One orthodontic treatment is to help make room for permanent teeth, which reduces crooked teeth as a result of overcrowding. It treats the jaw and bite growth, and issues like crossbite or underbite. This can reduce the need for your child to undergo extractions.

Phase-Two

Phase-Two orthodontic treatment is when braces are placed on the upper and/or lower teeth. The purpose is not just to correct spaces or misaligned teeth, but also to correct overbite or underbite concerns. Phase-Two usually begins around age 11 or 12, and the braces are worn for an average of two to three years, depending on your child’s unique needs. Some children have fewer issues and wear braces for little more than a year, while others need them for up to four years.

Signs your child needs two-phase orthodontic treatment

If your child exhibits the following signs, he or she may be a good candidate for two-phase orthodontic treatment:

  • Losing baby teeth early, before five years of age
  • Problems with biting or chewing
  • Sucking the thumb after age five
  • Evidence of a crossbite, where the teeth don’t come together when opening or closing of the mouth
  • Teeth are crowded at age seven or eight
  • Protruding teeth on the top or bottom

Not all children need to have early treatment, but if your child shows any of these signs, you should bring him or her to us for an evaluation at Kalfred Chun, DDS, MS.

What is early intervention?

August 14th, 2019

Many developing orthodontic problems can be intercepted and corrected if diagnosed and treated at an early age. Dr. Kalfred Chun and our team at Kalfred Chun, DDS, MS recommend children have their first orthodontic evaluation no later than age seven, or younger if the front four permanent teeth have replaced the baby teeth. Early treatment, also known as interceptive treatment or Phase I treatment, provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Early intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later.

If your child is showing these signs, it may be time to think about early orthodontic treatment:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five or six, and will have all their permanent teeth in around age 12 to 13)
  • Difficulty chewing and/or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Sucking his or her thumb
  • Speech impediment
  • Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
  • Crowded front teeth
  • Teeth that don't come together in a normal manner or even at all

Early intervention will greatly reduce the severity of your child’s case, and therefore reduce the length of treatment time and cost for a second phase of treatment when all of his or her permanent teeth have erupted. An evaluation at our Santa Maria office will determine if your child’s dental and skeletal growth is proceeding properly or if interceptive treatment is needed. Many times, a more severe problem can be corrected using sophisticated removable appliances instead of traditional orthodontic treatment.

To schedule a consultation for your child to visit with Dr. Kalfred Chun, please give us a call! We will provide your child with an initial exam, and discuss with you the best steps to take toward caring for your child's smile.

What is malocclusion?

August 7th, 2019

The term malocclusion refers to misalignment of teeth. You may have been born with malocclusion, so your teeth simply grew in crooked, or the misalignment and crowding of your teeth occurred over a period of time. Either way, not only can malocclusion pose cosmetic issues, but it can have a negative effect on your speaking and eating abilities as well.

Types of Malocclusion

Malocclusion encompasses multiple types and classifications of misalignment issues, including twisting or rotation of the teeth and molars that do not meet when you bite down. In some cases, the top front teeth are pushed outward in an upper protrusion.

In other cases, a misplaced midline results when the front top teeth don’t meet with the front bottom teeth. Transposition occurs when teeth protrude through the gums in a position where another tooth is supposed to be.

Practically any type of crowding or spacing issues, rotation or twisting of the teeth, or bite problem – including overbite, underbite, open bite, or crossbite – is included under the umbrella of malocclusion.

Malocclusion Classifications

There are three classifications of bite or misalignment problem.

  • Class 1 malocclusion: While the bite may be normal, the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth slightly. This is the most common type.
  • Class 2 malocclusion: Known as overbite or retrognathism, class 2 involves a severe overlap of the upper teeth and jaw over the bottom teeth and jaw.
  • Class 3 malocclusion: Known as underbite or prognathism, class 3 occurs when the lower teeth and jaw overlap the upper teeth and jaw. Thus, the lower jaw juts forward.

Causes of Malocclusion

The most common cause of malocclusion is genetics. However, there may be other causes, including the development of abnormally-shaped teeth, lost teeth, or impacted teeth; thumb sucking or overuse of a pacifier as a small child; having fillings or crowns that do not fit correctly; a serious injury that causes misalignment of the jaw; or developing a tumor of the mouth or jaw.

Treating Malocclusion

Orthodontic care at Kalfred Chun, DDS, MS with Dr. Kalfred Chun is the main treatment available for malocclusion, which includes getting braces, Invisalign, or other corrective treatments. Treatment is ideal not just to have your smile improved, but because it makes the teeth easier to clean and maintain, lowers the risk of gum disease and tooth decay, and can even take pressure off the jaw and teeth.

Think about orthodontic treatment if you (or your child) display any signs of malocclusion. Early treatment of malocclusion during childhood can lessen expensive treatment later on.

Caring for Your Smile While Wearing ClearCorrect™

July 17th, 2019

Straightening your teeth can have a world of benefits. It can give you more confidence in your smile, make it easier to keep your teeth clean, and improve the alignment of your front and back teeth so that chewing is easier.

ClearCorrect treatment can straighten your teeth without needing traditional metal braces that can be unsightly and inconvenient for eating. Teenagers and adults of all ages can wear the invisible trays to get their teeth straighter. ClearCorrect treatment can take over a year, so you need to know how to care for your smile during that time.

Maintain Your Regular Good Dental Hygiene

A significant benefit of ClearCorrect treatment compared to metal braces is that ClearCorrect aligners are removable. That means you can follow your regular routine when it comes to dental hygiene. Brush your teeth twice a day using a fluoride-containing toothpaste, and floss at least once a day. Use a mouthwash daily to kill germs.

Clean Your Aligners Regularly

Soak your aligners in warm water and brush them gently with a toothbrush. Don’t use mouthwash or denture cleaner, because these products can be too rough. Dr. Kalfred Chun may suggest using just warm water, or you might be directed to use toothpaste or another solution.

Eat a Mouth-Healthy Diet

Remove your ClearCorrect aligners when you eat so you don’t destroy them or let food build up on them. Limit sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks and fruit drinks, to avoid having sugar on your teeth and increasing your risk of tooth decay. Unlike with metal braces, you don’t need to avoid certain foods with ClearCorrect because they are too gummy or likely to get stuck in your braces.

ClearCorrect treatment or not, eating sticky, sugary foods is never healthy because they increase your risk of developing tooth decay. Instead, opt for nutritious choices such as fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and lean proteins.

ClearCorrect treatment can give you a better smile and the benefits that come with it. Make sure you take full advantage of your treatment by keeping your mouth clean so that your smile is white and gleaming when you’re done with your treatment.

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