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  • Dr Jennifer Messenger

Orthodontics: A Modern Perspective



Do you ever see 2nd and 3rd graders running around with braces and wonder why? You might even think to yourself, “They didn’t do that when I was a kid”. I get this question a lot in my practice! You are right, early intervention wasn’t as common when our generation was in elementary school. Many (maybe even you) had more difficult orthodontic treatments that lasted late into high school. You may have even had extractions of 2-4 permanent teeth to achieve the optimal smile and bite. I personally had braces for 3.5 years! In my practice, the average treatment time of a full set of braces is 18-24 months. Early observation and potential intervention allow me to identify and address problems before they become more serious, therefore reducing the treatment time in a full set of braces. Often, it also allows me to start making room for all the teeth so that extractions are not necessary later.


When should your child see an orthodontic specialist?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children visit an orthodontic specialist at the age of 7. While it is recommended to see an orthodontic specialist, not every child needs early intervention. I take pride in keeping the treatment as conservative as possible because a 7 and 8 year-old should not be in braces unless it is absolutely necessary.


Why age 7?

By age 7 most children have a mix of adult and baby teeth. At this time, I am able to identify conditions that are better to correct at a younger age, the size of the permanent teeth can be assessed, and I am able to catch problems that have the potential to do harm to the teeth and/or gums.


What I look for:

- Growth and development of the teeth & jaws

- Flared front teeth

- Tongue and lip position

- Teeth position and bite

- Moderate to severe crowding

- Excessive overbites

- Underbites

- Crossbites

- Impacted Teeth

- Missing Teeth or early loss of a baby tooth

- Extra Teeth


If your child is 7 and up, please call our office today for a complimentary consultation, 714-500-7147


What to expect at your child’s consultation appointment?

The consultation is a time for you to get to know me and for me to get to know you and your child. It is an easy appointment and we try to make it as fun and casual as possible. We start by gathering all the necessary information to a make a thorough dental and smile evaluation. We take digital radiographs to assess the growth and development of the teeth and jaws. We also take a set of photographs of the teeth and smile. In the consultation we will review all the information and discuss the best treatment approach for your child.


In the case that your child does not need early intervention, they will become a member of our VIP (Very Important Patient) Club. The VIP club consists of observation appointments every 6 months so that I can closely monitor their growth and eruption of their remaining permanent teeth. This allows me to address any issues that may arise before they become more serious and I can time the treatment to give us the best result possible. The VIP Club is complimentary and includes fun give-aways to make the experience enjoyable for your son or daughter.


Through early intervention and regular observation appointments, you’ll be giving your child the best opportunity for a beautiful and healthy smile! (#orthodontics, #earlytreatment, #smile, #messengerorthodontics, #boardcertified)

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