It is important for adolescents and pre-adolescents to be evaluated by a qualified orthodontist to determine if they require orthodontic treatment. Some signs or habits that may signal a need to have your child evaluated by an orthodontist include:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Mouth breathing
  • Thumb or finger sucking
  • Crowding, misplaced or blocked out teeth
  • Narrow upper jaw

The orthodontists at MedStar Washington Hospital Center are trained to evaluate orthodontic problems and create an individualized treatment plan appropriate for each patient.

Who should evaluate my child?

Orthodontists are trained to spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present.  Only a qualified orthodontist can make a determination if your child needs orthodontic treatment. If not treated for orthodontic problems, children may experience dental crowding, too much space between teeth and sometimes jaw growth problems. 

What should I expect from my initial visit?

When you make your appointment, you will be asked to bring several forms with you.
(See Your First Appointment ).

  • You will be asked questions about your child's overall health, family history and any current medical problems
  • Your orthodontist will examine your child carefully, including the mouth, jaw, face and neck.
  • If it is indicated, the orthodontist might take diagnostic records including x-rays, photographs, and articulated study casts or your teeth to aid in the diagnostic process.
  • After discussing possible treatment options, your orthodontist will work with you to create the treatment option that is most appropriate for your child. Treatment for orthodontic conditions include:
    • Braces
    • Retainers
    • Other appliances
  • After deciding on the appropriate treatment, your orthodontist will set up a treatment plan. This plan will include periodic check-ups, possible additional appliances and an overall timeline for treatment.

How long will treatment for orthodontic problems take?

Your orthodontist should be able to give you an approximate timetable for the length of time your child would need orthodontic treatment.

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