Why Orthodontics? | When Should My Child Be Seen? | What is Early Treatment? | What is Two-Phase Treatment? | What is Adult Treatment? | How Long Will Treatment Last?

Why pursue orthodontics?

People today generally keep their teeth for a lifetime. The pursuit of orthodontic care is an investment in your future.

Treatment is sought for a number of reasons:

  • to improve the alignment of the teeth.
  • to create well-balanced jaws and a pleasing facial profile.
  • to reposition teeth which have shifted due to tooth loss so that the missing teeth may be replaced ideally with bridgework or implants.
  • to improve the condition Temporal Mandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction. A malocclusion or "bad bite" can cause a misalignment of the jaws which can create debilitating pain within the jaw joints.

By pursuing orthodontic treatment people are taking a positive step toward improving the health of their mouths as well as their appearance for a lifetime.

When should my child be seen?

Dr. Decoteau has always provided free initial examinations for all his patients. Children are generally seen for an evaluation between the ages of 7 and 9. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by that time and "bad bites", crowding, and other problems can be evaluated.

What is early interceptive treatment?

Whenever possible, Dr. Decoteau prefers to wait until most of the permanent teeth are present prior to beginning orthodontic treatment. However, there are circumstances which require early interceptive treatment in order to alleviate a condition which would create adverse growth if left untreated.

When treatment is begun early, Dr. Decoteau can guide the growth of the jaw and guide incoming permanent teeth. Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower jaws, gain space for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. Early treatment can simplify later treatment.

What conditions require early treatment?

  • skeletal imbalances such as a narrow upper jaw or an excessive "overbite" or "underbite"
  • severely crowded teeth which require strategic early extractions of baby teeth
  • habits which adversely affect the normal development of the teeth or bite, such as thumb-sucking or tongue-thrusting


What is two-phase orthodontic treatment?

First Phase Treatment:

Phase I treatment is designed to resolve an immediate developmental problem which left untreated will generally worsen over time. By completing Phase I treatment more ideal growth and development can occur thus simplifying Phase II treatment at a later time.

Simply Stated:
Phase I treatment occurs at a younger age when there are still baby teeth present. The goal is to achieve skeletal balance and normal growth of the jaws.

At the end of Phase I treatment, teeth are not in their final positions. Generally patients are placed on observation to allow further growth and development of permanent teeth. Therefore, periodic recall appointments for observation are necessary. We will continue to monitor the patient's growth and evaluate if a second phase of treatment is necessary.

Second Phase Treatment:

Phase II treatment is to make sure each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue and other teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly. The second phase is initiated when all permanent teeth have erupted, and usually requires braces on all the teeth for an average of 24 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure you retain your beautiful smile.

What about orthodontic treatment for adults?

Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age and adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile. Twenty percent of orthodontic patients are adults.

How long will treatment last?

Treatment time typically ranges from one to three years, depending on the growth of the patient's mouth and face and the severity of the problem. Patients grow at different rates and will respond variously to orthodontic treatment. The patient's diligent use of any prescribed rubber bands or headgear is an important factor in achieving the most efficient treatment. Interceptive, or early treatment procedures, may take as few as six months.

Contact Us

Decoteau Orthodontics

Groton, MA Orthodontist
Decoteau Orthodontics
300 Main Street
Groton, MA 01450
(978) 448-2300

Nashua, NH Orthodontist
NorthEast Orthodontics
169 Kinsley Street
Nashua, NH 03060
(603) 589-9222
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