Diagnosis and Treatment

Page Photo - Diagnosis and Treatment

What are Diagnostic Records?

Orthodontic records are obtained at the consultation appointment. Records confirm Dr. Upton's diagnosis and treatment plan and serve as documentation of your teeth, lips and profile when treatment is initiated. Typical records include the following:

Panoramic Radiograph

A panoramic radiograph reveals the position of both erupted and unerupted teeth, missing or extra teeth, general condition of bone and supporting tissue, and any possible decay.

Cephalometric Radiograph

The cephalometric radiograph is a lateral (side) picture of the head. This picture is traced and measured to illustrate the outline of the nose, lips and chin; how the upper and lower jaw is related to the head and how the front teeth are related to each jaw.

Extraoral Photos

The extraoral photos consist of a relaxed and a smiling frontal picture of the face and a lateral profile. The pictures help evaluate facial balance and soft tissue contours.

Intraoral Photos

Intraoral photos help evaluate the appearance and condition of the enamel and gingival tissues.

Does my child need to see an Orthodontist?

Most malocclusions can be treated effectively once the majority of the baby teeth have been lost. However it is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists that a child's first evaluation by an orthodontic specialist be done around the age of 7. If you or your family dentist suspects an orthodontic problem before age 7, an orthodontic specialist should be contacted for an earlier evaluation. During this period, concerns associated with crowding, undesirable habits, and disproportionate jaw growth, may first need to be addressed. Other problems associated with tooth alignment or bite correction may best be addressed subsequent to the eruption of most permanent teeth.

The following are indications that an orthodontic problem may be present.

  • Missing Teeth
  • Protrusion of Front Teeth
  • Crossbites
  • Speech Difficulties
  • Crowded Teeth
  • Early Loss of Teeth
  • Underbite
  • Mouth Breathing
  • Thumb and Finger Habits
  • Low Self-Esteem from Teeth Misalignment

These are just a few of the early indications that orthodontic problems may exist.

What are the benefits of Timely Treatment?

  • Improve self-confidence and self esteem
  • Influence growth of the jaws to improve tooth relationship
  • Increase the width of the dental arches
  • Reduce the need for extractions
  • Reduce the likelihood of future jaw surgery
  • Reduce the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
  • Eliminate harmful oral habits
  • Reduce the treatment time for future orthodontics
  • Improve speech development
  • Guide the permanent teeth into a more favorable position
  • Gain space for erupting permanent teeth
  • Better cooperation before teenage years
  • To prevent unbalanced or asymmetric facial growth

What will be the length of treatment?

The length of treatment varies from patient to patient. It depends on the severity of the bite, the degree of correction, age and the level of cooperation achieved. However, most cases are completed within 16-22 months. We are constantly reviewing treatment progress and make an effort at each appointment to give you an update regarding you or your child's treatment status.

What if treatment is not recommended at the first appointment?

If treatment is not indicated, a recall appointment will be scheduled to monitor the child's growth and dental development. Ninety-five percent of children seen in Dr. Upton's practice should be monitored until the majority of permanent teeth have erupted before initiating orthodontic therapy. This protocol limits the child to one phase of orthodontic treatment and reduces both the total treatment time and the cost of orthodontic treatment.