That’s a question we hear at almost every consultation. There’s no universal answer.
Since every person’s dental issues are different, we create a plan that is specific to you. It’s important that not only your teeth are straight but that your jaw alignment is correct and, if you are one of our young patients, that you have enough room in your mouth for all your adult teeth. So there’s no easy answer, but on average, Dr. Chapman’s patients have between 12-18 months of treatment.
In the past, kids usually came to the orthodontist when they were about 12 years old after all of their permanent teeth were present. Today, the American Association of Orthodontists and Dr. Chapman encourages parents to bring their children in for evaluations by age 7. That may seem pretty young; however, that’s the age when problems with airway, speech, swallowing, and facial development can be detected and more easily corrected. If a child’s jaw is too small for all their teeth, it can not only cause crowding but also problems with breathing and tongue posture.
Tongue posture? Didn’t know your tongue had a correct posture? Correct tongue posture is when your tongue rests on the roof of your mouth. When it rests there, it helps your upper jaw growing nice and wide, developing the airway as well. If you breathe through your mouth, your tongue doesn’t touch the roof of your mouth, and both jaw and airway fail to develop properly.
At Chapman Smiles, we often use a Two-Phase Treatment plan. Phase 1 treatment is like setting a good foundation to build “your house” on. Dr. Chapman aligns and enhances the jaws and airway to receive and accommodate all of the teeth as they come in. He uses “orthopedic appliances,” much like the old pink plastic and wire retainers but glued to the teeth, to accomplish these goals with comfort, ease, and speed. They are basically 21st-century “headgears”, but much better. They create or save space for teeth and airways and are virtually invisible to others, as everything is located inside of the mouth and behind the teeth.
Phase 2 is the framing and finish of the “house,” utilizing the space gained from Phase 1 alignment of the jaws to more easily and quickly create a broad, relaxed, and amazing smile. Clear aligners or braces are typically used in this Phase 2 treatment, which begins typically when all the permanent teeth are present.
You will have a beautiful smile at the end of your treatment, and you’ll be able to breathe, speak and swallow better too!
Dr. Chapman has 31 years of experience creating beautiful smiles for his patients in Happy Valley, Portland and Clackamas. He and his experienced staff are ready to help you or your child get a beautiful, healthy smile. Make 2021 the year of the smile! Call us today at 503-659-5000 to schedule a free consultation or try our free ONLINE virtual consultation.