First Orthodontic Visit

When you get down to it, our lives are made up of a whole series of milestones, from our first words, to the first time we ride a bike on our own, to the first time we visit an orthodontist. As exciting as these “firsts” can be, it’s not uncommon to also feel a little nervous them. The unknown can be scary sometimes, and embarking on a new adventure like orthodontic treatment is a big decision!

Here at Szymanowski Orthodontics, we want you to feel confident in your decision to work towards a straighter, healthier smile. Your initial appointment with us is the first step in that journey, and one of the most important you’ll have. This is our opportunity to “wow” you, and we take that seriously! Let’s discuss what you can expect from your free consultation with our practice.

The first step towards the smile you deserve

From the moment you walk in our door, you’ll be welcomed warmly by our team. We’ll give you a brief tour of our office and introduce you to some of our staff, and will also ask you to complete a medical health history form for us. For your convenience, you can actually fill this out at home and bring it to us. Click here to do so!

At this point, we’ll move on to taking a series of digital photographs and x-rays to help Dr. Szymanowski analyze your particular orthodontic needs. A comprehensive oral examination of your mouth will follow, as well as a brief question and answer session with our treatment coordinator. Based on a review of your records, the photos and x-rays taken, and the results of your exam, some or all of the following may be discussed.

  • Any oral issues you have that orthodontics can address
  • If treatment is needed now, or if it should be delayed until the appropriate growth, tooth eruption, or other factors have occurred
  • What treatment options are available to correct the problem, including Invisalign, Damon braces, Damon Clear braces, Incognito, or any other necessary special appliances
  • Whether or not any permanent teeth will need to be removed first
  • How long we estimate treatment will take
  • How much of an investment the treatment process will be
  • The payment options we have available or a review of your insurance benefits

Once you’ve decided to pursue treatment with Dr. Szymanowski, we’ll create a customized treatment plan for your case.

Creating a personalized treatment plan that works for you

It’s important to us to analyze each patient’s specific needs in order to produce the best results possible. During your first visit with us, we’ll take the time to walk you through what you can expect at different stages of the treatment process. This is because we want you to fully understand each step in order to have complete confidence in the journey!

Once we’ve decided on a treatment plan that fits your specific case, lifestyle, and goals, we’ll guide you through the total investment needed for your new smile. Because every patient comes with their own unique needs, the costs of treatment will vary on a case-by-case basis. No need to worry, though – this will all be laid out in detail before your treatment ever begins.

We’re dedicated to providing patients with exceptional treatment that fits every budget, and never want finances to stand in the way of healthy smile! That’s why we offer:

  • Interest-free financial payment plans throughout the treatment process
  • No-down payment, third party financing from CareCredit
  • Automatic credit card or bank draft payments through OrthoBanc
  • Convenient online credit card payments

Many dental insurance policies will cover a portion of orthodontic treatment. During your initial consultation, we can review your orthodontic coverage and explain your benefits to you. Once treatment begins, we’ll be happy to submit and file your insurance claim for you in order to ensure your benefits are maximized. To make the process go faster, provide your insurance information for our office prior to your initial exam.

Smiling girl with braces

Why you should choose Szymanowski Orthodontics

Our team wants to provide you with the best orthodontic care possible, and we’ll always work hard to exceed your expectations! You’ll be fully informed about every step of your treatment plan and progress, and our Sacramento office is a warm and welcoming space. We’ve also invested in state-of-the-art equipment that allows us to create beautifully aligned smiles and improved oral health for patients of all ages in our community. By combining individualized care with cutting-edge technology, we’re able to give you comfortable and efficient treatment in the shortest amount of time possible!

You can count on our skilled staff to make each appointment a positive one, from start to finish. You’ll always be greeted with a smile, and we love to hear all about your day and what’s been happening with you in between visits. Your smile is the first thing most people notice about you, and the thing they’re most likely to remember, which is why we’re all about designing a smile for you that will stand out!

If you’re in Sacramento or any of the surrounding communities, we’d love to meet you. We offer a FREE consultation so you can learn more about how orthodontics could benefit you without committing to anything first. If you want to learn more about what we have to offer your smile, get in touch with us today to schedule your first orthodontic visit! This is the perfect time to take the leap towards the the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted – and the healthy smile you deserve!

How To Protect Your Braces While Playing Sports

One of the most common concerns we hear at Szymanowski Orthodontics regarding braces is if student-athletes can have braces and play their favorites sports uninterrupted. Many parents and kids are worried they will have to sit out sports while in their braces, but that couldn’t be further from the truth!

Kids and teens can absolutely continue playing any sport they like while wearing braces! However, it’s still very easy to cause harm to your teeth and braces, so you’ll want your child to take some precautions and extra care for their braces while playing sports. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to protect your braces while playing sports!


Regular Mouthguard vs. Orthodontic Mouthguard

Wearing a mouthguard is the best way to protect teeth when playing a sport, hands down. They are an easy and efficient way to prevent teeth from experiencing any damage while playing a sport, even high-contact sports like football and hockey. We recommend that no matter what sport you are playing, even light contact sports, you wear a mouthguard to keep your smile safe.  

Regular mouthguards are made of thermoplastic, which is heated up and molded to your teeth. Now, the mouthguard doesn’t evolve with your teeth as they shift. This means that the mouthguard can actually work against the braces and interrupt the straightening process. Sometimes the mold can also fit a little too snug around the brackets. If you were to be hit hard enough while playing your sport, the impact could potentially knock the brackets off your teeth. An incident like this leads to additional orthodontic visits and could result in longer treatment times too.

Smiling Young Girl With Braces Posing Holding A Tennis RacketFor those people who wear braces, the best type of mouthguard is an orthodontic mouthguard, which is a bit different from regular mouthguards. Made from high-grade silicone, orthodontic mouthguards cushion your lips from bumping against your teeth and braces. This prevents your lip from getting caught in your braces which can be quite painful. It also protects the brackets on your teeth from any potential damage from sports-related impact. Orthodontic mouthguards are typically a bit bigger than regular mouthguards, but they are equally as comfortable to wear.

Let’s take a look at some popular brands of mouthguards now that you know the difference between a regular mouthguard and an orthodontic mouthguard. While all these mouthguards will meet your basic needs, we can’t stress enough that we’d recommend a custom-made mouthguard from Szymanowski Orthodontics for our patients with braces. That being said, here are a few over-the-counter mouthguards that are simple and effective.


Over-the-Counter Mouthguards

Shock Doctor

One of the best brands of orthodontic mouthguards, Shock Doctor mouthguards are made to conform to the upper brackets for comfort and to stop cuts and scrapes. They are made of 100% medical grade silicone and adjust to the movement of the teeth during treatment. These mouthguards are quite reasonably priced and come in both strapped and unstrapped styles.



When playing sports, mouthguards with a lip guard are a must-have for patients in braces. Vettex mouthguards also contain lip guards which is a definite bonus when playing sports while wearing braces. Lip guards keep athletes from accidentally biting themselves and don’t hinder wearers from naturally having a conversation. Vettex mouthguards are admittedly a little bulkier due to the lip guard but are also considerably lightweight. They are inexpensive, but do keep in mind they are not made for athletes in braces.



Tapout is a new, quite diverse type of mouthguard that can be re-molded to your teeth multiple times as they change. Users of this mouthguard claim they can be used by both people who do and do not wear braces and adjust as your bite changes. They also have a distinctive design that promotes airflow and are comfortable and easy to talk with.


What happens if I am injured while wearing braces?

A smiling young soccer player wearing braces and playing as goalieIf your mouth takes a hit while you are wearing braces, your best response is to give us a call at Szymanowski Orthodontics as soon as possible. Once we hear your personal situation, we can determine if you need an emergency appointment or not. We can’t stress enough that the best way to defend your teeth while playing sports is by wearing a mouthguard. Without one, even a minor hit could lead to bleeding gums, broken brackets, and even potentially fractured teeth.

While some mouthguard options can be expensive, the protection mouthguards provide are surely worth the investment. They protect the teeth while they are moving into their new permanent positions, resulting in a winning smile. Believe us when we say, a custom-made mouthguard from Szymanowski Orthodontics is an investment worth making.

At Szymanowski Orthodontics, we want to empower your children to continue their active lifestyle and protect their teeth while they play their favorite sports. If your child is concerned about wearing braces while playing a sport, or just wearing braces in general, bring them to our offices, and we’ll be happy to answer any of your or their questions clearly and compassionately. We can reassure them that they can have the best of both worlds: straight teeth and play their favorite sports!  

Orthodontic Emergencies

Are you anxiously awaiting your appointment to be fitted for braces? Or are you crossing the last few days off the calendar before they come off? Whether you’re at the very beginning of your braces journey, nearing the end of it, or somewhere in the middle, knowing what to do when minor issues pop up can make it a much smoother process for you. Equally important is knowing how to handle any true orthodontic emergencies that may occur, although they are rare. Here at Szymanowski Orthodontics, we want our patients to be well-informed and well-prepared, so let’s take a closer look at what we mean when we talk about orthodontic emergencies.

True orthodontic emergencies


We encourage you to seek help as soon as possible if you find yourself experiencing any of the following symptoms at any point in your orthodontic treatment:


  • any serious injury or trauma to the face, neck, mouth, teeth, gums, etc
  • any swelling, infection, or bleeding of the gums or mouth
  • any severe pain or discomfort in your teeth, mouth, face, or neck


Dentist examining a patient's teeth in the dentist.We generally recommend you start with your orthodontist’s office, but if you feel as though the emergency room would be a better option for you, don’t hesitate to go. Don’t worry that this will impede your treatment time or its overall effectiveness. We can always adjust things when, or if, needed once the emergency situation has been taken care of.


Sometimes it can be confusing trying to decide when a situation is ER-worthy or one where it’s safe to take a wait-and-see approach. A good example of a problem requiring immediate diagnosis and treatment would be something like a fractured tooth, or any severe pain or swelling, which can be a sign of infection and disease. These kinds of emergencies are few and far between, however, and much more often, you will experience a range of minor orthodontic “emergencies.” Many of these can even be remedied at home!

Minor orthodontic emergencies


These are some of the more common minor orthodontic “emergencies” you may experience at some point during your orthodontic treatment, and what you can do about them without stepping outside your door.

Mouth sores

Braces themselves don’t actually cause mouth sores, but some patients seem to be more susceptible to getting them during treatment. These ulcers usually appear inside the cheeks and lips, or on the tongue or gums, and can be very uncomfortable. Irritation from braces can also exacerbate them. For instant relief, try applying a small amount of topical anesthetic directly to the ulcer, using a cotton swab. You can reapply this as needed.


Loose or broken brackets, bands, or wires

If any part of your braces come loose or break off, contact your orthodontist first to determine what your next steps should be. While waiting for your next appointment, there are a few guidelines you can follow to keep both your braces and your mouth safe.


Child playing with waxIf you have a band or bracket that’s broken, but still attached to the wire, don’t connect any elastics to it, and leave it alone until your appointment. If it’s irritating the inside of your mouth, you can cover it with orthodontic wax. If the broken piece has actually come off, put it in a bag and save it for your orthodontist.


Misplaced archwire, bracket, or tie

As your teeth begin adjusting to treatment, they’ll start to move. When this happens, the archwire that connects them may also move, poking out a bit near the back of the mouth and irritating your cheeks. This wire can often be moved into a better position by using the eraser end of the pencil or a cotton swab. Any misplaced wires or ties can usually be manipulated back into place by gently using a pair of clean tweezers.


If some of the wires or brackets have shifted and are causing irritation to your mouth, you can use orthodontic wax to cover the parts that are poking out. This will help ease the discomfort, but make sure you get in touch with your orthodontist as soon as you can, so the problem itself can be fixed, instead of you only masking the symptoms at home.


Tooth pain or loose teeth

Teeth become slightly loosened during orthodontic treatment, which is actually proof of them doing exactly what we want them to. It can be a little disconcerting at first, but it’s nothing to worry about. This movement may sometimes be accompanied by tenderness, especially after your braces are placed or have just been adjusted.


Using a salt water rinse twice a day is a tried and true remedy that can be really helpful. Just mix one teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water, then swish it around your mouth for about 30 seconds. A warm washcloth or a heating pad placed on the outside of your jaw can offer some relief as well.


Although home remedies can be extremely helpful, they may not always work or completely remove the source of pain, discomfort, and irritation. But they can often help resolve minor issues, and lessen or relieve symptoms until you can be seen at your orthodontist’s office.

Szymanowski Orthodontics is here to help in Sacramento

While it’s true that actual orthodontic emergencies are rare, if they do happen, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. We do understand that even minor emergency situations can be upsetting, too, though!


Our team at Szymanowski Orthodontics is made up of a group of knowledgeable, caring, and committed professionals who are here to help make your orthodontic experience as personal and pain-free as possible. If a problem pops up with your braces, we’ll do our best to get you in and out as quickly as we can.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           


If you’re in the Sacramento or surrounding area and are experiencing any discomfort with your braces, get in touch with us and let us get to the bottom of it. The process of creating a bright and beautiful smile doesn’t have to hurt! We’ll do whatever we can to correct the problem, and have you showing your smile off again in no time.

When Should Your Child See An Orthodontist?

young girl with glasses taking a selfie

Let’s try a little experiment – close your eyes and imagine someone wearing braces. Is it a teenager’s face you see? A tween? Maybe even an adult?

When we think of orthodontic treatments, especially traditional metal braces, we almost always picture older children and teens. So it might surprise you to learn that the American Association of Orthodontists actually recommends children have their first check-up with an orthodontist no later than the age of 7. This may seem counter-intuitive since most children that age still have their baby teeth and still have developing mouths. Why such an early recommendation, then? Let’s explore the topic and find out!

Picking up potential issues early on

The transition we all go through from baby teeth to permanent teeth is an especially important one. Where our baby teeth are located and when they fall out sets the foundation for our permanent teeth, and where their ultimate position in our mouths will be. Having an orthodontic exam by around age 7 means your orthodontist can pick up on any potential issues early enough that a great deal of negative impact to the permanent teeth can be prevented.

What will your orthodontist be looking for?

There are many dental issues your orthodontist will check your child for when they have their first orthodontic appointment. There are, however, several common problems that show up in childhood that your orthodontist will be paying special attention to, such as

Tooth Loss and Eruption

blonde girl with pig tails missing teeth

Our baby teeth normally fall out in a fairly specific order, so if your orthodontist notices that your child has any significant deviation from this pattern, it may indicate that there are developmental issues that need attention.

By the age of 7, we are looking for children to have at least four permanent molars, as well as two to four permanent incisors. If your child has more or less than this, there may be future problems with missing, crowding, or extra teeth. Sometimes your orthodontist will choose to remove a primary tooth early or maintain a space where a tooth has been lost prematurely in order to prevent these from becoming bigger problems later on down the line.

Crowding and Spacing

By the time your child is around the age of 7, it will be possible for your orthodontist to tell if they have had or will have any problems with overcrowding or excessive spacing. Spacing issues will often arise over a tooth that’s been lost prematurely, one that’s never developed, or teeth that are too small or too spaced apart. Crowding can sometimes require expanding the arches or removing certain teeth to make more room.


Although teeth can be and often are aligned at an older age, your orthodontist will want to keep an eye on any visibly crooked teeth when your child has their first appointment. Teeth that are misaligned are more likely to experience uneven damage and wear, and over time, this can cause the shape and position of the surrounding gum tissue to be compromised.


By the time a child is 7, it will generally be quite obvious if their front teeth stick out more than is safe or deemed attractive. Although it’s not always possible to permanently correct an overbite until your child’s mouth has finished growing, a good orthodontist will have ways to help reduce the severity of the problem. This can at least make things easier for them until growth is complete.


Underbites can be the result of both tooth or jaw problems. The most difficult scenario we see is when the lower jaw grows too far forward. In those types of cases, we’ll typically have to wait until the patient has finished growing to finish their treatment. This will usually mean waiting until the patient is 16 or older.

That said, early treatment is actually of great importance with these patients! Normalizing this bite as much as possible, as early as possible, will help avoid some bite-shifting and damage to the front teeth. Sometimes orthodontists who notice an underbite in a young patient will want to “jump the bite” with braces or headgear to try and get a handle on it, before then completing treatment in their teenage years. This will vary from practice to practice, of course.

Note: underbite patients who receive early treatment between the ages of 7 and 10 are much less likely to need jaw surgery at an older age. That’s one big reason why it’s so strongly recommended your child see an orthodontist by age 7!

Posterior Crossbites

Posterior crossbites can be a cause of crowding and may also cause the jaw to shift from one side to the other. Sometimes expanding the upper jaw from around the ages of 7 to 10 can reduce that crowding and create space necessary for the eruption of the front teeth. It may also eliminate any shifting present due to a constricted upper jaw.

Anterior Open Bites and Deep Bites

By age 7, it’s possible to detect vertical problems with the bite. Bites that are too deep (where the top teeth completely cover the bottom ones when biting) can indicate the patient has a small lower jaw, and bites that don’t overlap enough (open bites) may be a sign that there is an oral habit causing dental problems. We encourage our patients to eliminate these destructive habits early so that normal development will be allowed to occur!

Earlier is better

young girl with braces smiling

For all the reasons listed above and more, early orthodontic evaluations are important in order to give your child their best chance for a healthy, straight smile! Most children will lose all their baby teeth by the age of 13 or so, and by the end of their teen years, their jaw bones will harden and stop growing. After this point, orthodontic procedures will often take more time, and can sometimes involve tooth extraction or even oral surgery.

Having received early orthodontic treatment can help prevent the need for it as an adult, reducing the need for more invasive and painful procedures, and although some treatments will have to wait until all the permanent teeth are in, interceptive treatment can make comprehensive treatment faster and better. It also gives your child the benefit of getting a head start on a healthy smile at an age when their self-image is developing, and their self-esteem is budding.

Szymanowski Orthodontics and your child’s smile

Dr. Damon and the team

Early evaluations aren’t the only important part of your child’s developing smile, however. You want to be sure and choose an experienced orthodontist who is highly trained, skilled, and on top of the latest orthodontic technology and equipment. Here at Szymanowski Orthodontics, we provide our Sacramento patients with exceptional care and service, using a multi-disciplinary approach to produce unparalleled results.

If you’re in the Sacramento area and have a child around the age of 7 who hasn’t yet seen an orthodontist, contact us today to set up a complimentary consultation for them. Remember, the sooner your child is evaluated, the better their chances for a beautiful, straight, and healthy smile as they head into adulthood! We look forward to helping them achieve that.

Why Choose an Orthodontist in Sacramento CA?

For most people, a beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontic treatment. But for orthodontist Dr. Damon Szymanowski at Szymanowski Orthodontics in Sacramento CA, the correct function of your bite is far more important. A malocclusion, or bad bite, can cause serious problems over a lifetime if left untreated. Loss of tooth structure, TMJ problems and even bone loss can occur if a malocclusion is not corrected before permanent damage occurs.

When it comes to the challenges and complexities of orthodontic treatment, most people prefer a specialist well trained and experienced. You can depend on Szymanowski Orthodontics in Sacramento CA for the best of both worlds: a well-functioning bite and the smile of your life!

An orthodontist completes several years of extensive training beyond dental school to become an expert at correcting jaw problems and straightening teeth. A dentist may see only a handful of cases a year amid all their drilling and filling. An orthodontist only practices orthodontics and treats hundreds of cases a year. An orthodontist doesn’t clean teeth, fill cavities, extract teeth or perform any of the routine procedures offered by your general dentist. It is not our area of expertise. So be sure to see your dentist every six months for cleaning and checkups while wearing braces.

Watch this video offered by the American Association of Orthodontics. An adult orthodontic patient discusses how orthodontic treatment has impacted his life.

For more information on how orthodontist Dr. Szymanowski can help you change your life with a beautiful smile, contact our office in Sacramento CA for a complimentary consultation. Many treatment options are available today, from traditional metal braces to Invisalign, the “Braceless Alternative” for teens and adults who are self-conscious about wearing braces.

Tired of the Gap Between Your Teeth?

We have all heard the song, “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.” As many of us know, there is nothing worse than having lost your baby front teeth and waiting (with a big gap in your smile!) for your adult teeth to come in. However, some people find it is just as frustrating to have both of their front teeth, but still have a big gap in between them. Below are some very famous women who display their gap with pride. (Jessica Hart, Natalie Cole, Anna Paquin, and Lauren Hutton.

Why does this happen? If you want to find out, go to the nearest mirror. Grab your upper lip between your thumb and forefinger on both sides and pull it up (warning: you may feel a little silly doing this). If you look above your front teeth, exactly in the middle of your gums, you will see a small flap of tissue that connects your gums to the inside of your lip. Believe it or not, this little flap actually has a name—it has called a freneulum (or frenum for short), and it can be the reason you have a gap in your front teeth.

If your frenum is the right size and properly positioned on your gum line above your two front teeth, it serves the simple purpose of attaching your gums to your lip, and all is well. Your frenum is supposed to move upward when your baby teeth come in to make room. However, if the frenum is too large, attached in the wrong spot or fails to move down like it should, it can cause problems. An incorrectly placed frenum can exert a pull or tension that prevents your front teeth from coming together the way they should. What makes this even more of an issue is the fact that braces can’t fix it! With the frenum in the way, your front teeth will never get to meet one another.

Before and After Frenectomy surgery

Fortunately, there is a way to solve the problem. There is a procedure known as afrenectomy, which is just a fancy word for reducing the size of your frenum. This limits the tension that keeps your teeth apart, and opens the door for braces to be placed to bring them back together in the right position. It is a very simple procedure performed by your orthodontist or dentist in the office. Your dentist just numbs your gums, removes a tiny bit of the frenum, and you are on your way. Now that lasers are often used for this surgery, it makes the whole thing even easier. There will be a few days of soreness afterwards while your tissue heals, but it is a small price to pay for bringing your front teeth together. After all, they make such a good pair; it’s a shame for them to be so far apart!

Sometimes however, front teeth are kept apart because of a jaw discrepancy where the lower jaw is bigger than the upper jaw causing the front teeth to spread apart. This is a problem of a completely different nature. If you or someone in your family has a space between their two front teeth that want to eliminate, Szymanowski Orthodontics will be able to evaluate the problem and determine the best course of treatment to close the space. It may be much easier than you think.

What Causes TMJ or TMD ?

Have you ever noticed a clicking or popping sound in your jaw when chewing or speaking? The orthodontists at Szymanowski Orthodontics want you to know this happens to everyone from time to time. However, if it happens frequently and is combined with other symptoms such as jaw pain, locking of your jaws, reduced ability to open and close the mouth, ear pain, or difficulty chewing, you may have a condition known as TMD or TMJ disorder. Watch the video below to find out more about TMJ dysfunction.

Orthodontics is a special field of dentistry that concerns itself with the study and treatment of irregular bites. An abnormal bite can be the result of uneven teeth, a jaw that is out of proportion or misaligned, or both. Depending on the situation, crooked teeth can be brought into alignment with orthodontic treatment. If you notice your jaw popping a bit too often and you think the alignment of your teeth or jaw is to blame, contact Szymanowski Orthodontics before you have the painful problem of full-blown TMD causing a lifetime of discomfort and unnecessary dental treatment and expense.

Are Teeth or Jaws the Problem When Teeth are Crowded?

A common problem we see every day at Szymanowski Orthodontics is crowding of teeth. This problem is often accompanied by protruding or “buck teeth”. Crowding can give the appearance the teeth are oversized or too big for the size of the jaws. However, this is not always correct. Often, it is not a tooth problem, but because the size of the jaws is too small or narrow to accommodate the teeth.

Before and After Crowding Rochester NY

Throughout the years, orthodontists have approached this issue in different ways. In the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, the most common practice was to remove permanent teeth to make room. Szymanowski Orthodontics recognizes that tooth extractions may not be necessary in many crowded situations. The removal of permanent teeth may result in lack of lip support or reduction of a patient’s profile. While the reduced profile may be acceptable in younger years, the reduction becomes more pronounced with the aging process and less flattering as they grow older. For this reason, correct treatment diagnosis when considering tooth removals is critical to the outcome of a good long term result.

Due to these aesthetic considerations, extensive research, and technological advancements in the field of orthodontics, many orthodontists have altered their view on how best to deal with crowded situations. Today, a non-extraction therapy is preferred rather than extracting permanent teeth in most treatment plans for children and adolescents. Instead, the treatment focus is on encouraging jaw growth to properly house all the teeth and is most successful when children and adolescents are still growing and developing.

This type of treatment usually is based on the use of specialized appliances and newly designed braces which can move teeth further and faster than traditional braces of old. Successful non-extraction therapy results in a more pleasing long-term facial balance and improved bites. It is recommended that children be checked out by an orthodontist by age 7 or 8 to find out if they are a candidate for this type of treatment.

Timing is Everything In Orthodontics When Treating Children

Szymanowski Orthodontics specializes in the movement of teeth and correction of adverse jaw growth problems. Evaluating and diagnosing each individual patient’s dental development, presents a slightly different challenge for an orthodontist. There are many factors at work and different approaches that can be used.

In severe situations, permanent tooth removals may be required to create the necessary space for others. However, no one enjoys having their teeth extracted and we try to avoid this option whenever possible. Fortunately, there is another way. By using a child’s natural growth spurts, a savvy orthodontist can avoid the need for tooth extractions if he evaluates a patient at an early age.

Children usually have a couple of predictable growth spurts. The first generally occurs around 8 or 9 years of age, right before puberty. Another one will typically follow during puberty itself, which falls between 11 or 12 years. During these growth spurts, the face and jaw will grow. The strategy is to harness this natural growth and combine it with braces and/or appliance to create more room for teeth if needed.

Since timing is everything, it is important to have your child evaluated by an orthodontist at a young age. It is generally difficult to know for sure if your child will need orthodontics until his or her permanent teeth begin to erupt. However, important forecasting clues can be understood by a trained orthodontist.

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that your child be examined by an orthodontist at age 7 to determine if early orthodontic treatment is needed. Treatment is much easier if evaluated and started before problems worsen and vital growth spurts are lost.

It is not necessary to be referred by your general dentist for a complimentary orthodontic evaluation at Szymanowski Orthodontics. Be proactive and contact our office to schedule an appointment. If your child does not require early interceptive treatment, Dr. Damon Szymanowski will continue to monitor your child’s dental and growth development in our complimentary supervisory program to determine the right time to begin treatment, based on your child’s needs.