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FAQ:  Orthodontics - Children - Teens

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Orthodontics Ask The Dentist - Edward Leventhal Question:
My 13 year old daughter is in need of braces and we have spoken to three different orthodontists and have gotten different approaches to fixing her smile.

One is recommending using appliances to "expand her jaw" and thus create the space needed for straight teeth.

Another Orthodontist says that extraction of existing teeth is the way to create the space needed. Yet another tells us that the jaw CANNOT be successfully and permanently altered with out surgery.

HELP!!! How does this expansion technique work? How long has it been used?? What are the pros and cons of this method?? PLEASE let me know what the latest on this subject is. ... Sid in MI

Sid, first of all, if your daughter's upper jaw is narrow and thus crowded because of this, then by all means, expand by using a fixed expander, instead of a removable one, as a fixed expander is very stable.

If your daughter's upper jaw is at the appropriate width, then expanding would not make sense, thus this is where removing of the teeth to make room for the rest makes sense.

Third of all, your daughter is 13 years of age, this means that the older one is, the more calcified the two halves of the top jaw is, the lesser there is a chance for expansion.

My suggestion is if your daughter's top jaw is narrow and the cause for crowding, then expand. The orthodontist will know within the first visit if expansion will work on her or not due to the mid sutures of her top jaw. Hope I didn't confuse you more!

Edward Leventhal, DDS
Baltimore Cosmetic Implant Dentistry
8860 Belair Road
Baltimore, MD 21236
(410) 256-7300

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