Birmingham Mom Collective recently chatted with Dr. Deborah Sema at Oxmoor Valley Orthodontics to talk about the topic all parents (and their wallets) dread . . . BRACES! But Dr. Sema assures us this is not something we should fear. Much has changed in orthodontia in the past (gasp!) twenty-five years since I wore braces!
The First Orthodontics Checkup
According to their website, the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) “recommends children get their first check-up with an AAO orthodontist at the first recognition of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age seven.” That’s right–age seven!
Around age seven is when kids are just beginning to have a mix of baby teeth and permanent teeth. Dr. Sema can evaluate those permanent teeth as well as the growing face and jaw bones.
Dr. Sema says many issues and disorders can be discovered by scheduling that primary visit. She’s also able to treat previously undiagnosed issues including sleeping, breathing, and swallowing problems, among other treatable issues.
At that primary visit, Dr. Sema and her staff take baseline X-rays, evaluate airways, tonsils, adenoids, and more. She can then take this information to also correct issues such as overbite, crossbite, and underbite. This is the first phase of orthodontia.
Sometimes Dr. Sema will take a “wait and see” approach, and sometimes she will recommend braces at this stage. If braces are needed at this age (during phase one), they generally only need to wear braces for about 12-15 months.
Interestingly enough, Dr. Sema says her younger patients generally do better with oral health, brushing, flossing, and wearing their retainer. This sets the foundation early for a lifetime of healthy habits.
Once the phase one braces come off, those patients will return about four years later (once they’ve lost most of their primary teeth) for round two of braces. This second phase in braces lasts about two years on average and completes the jaw and tooth alignment begun in phase one.
In case you started panicking at the thought of two phases of braces, Oxmoor Valley Orthodontics offers discounts for that second phase along with family discounts and convenient payment plans.
Keeping Those Teeth Clean
Dr. Sema and her staff made this fantastic video reminding her patients how to best care for their teeth while in braces. In addition to this, she also recommends all her patients see their dentist every three months for cleaning for the duration of their braces.
Are you ready to get started on your child’s orthodontics journey? Dr. Sema is currently taking new patients, so schedule your appointment today!