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Pediatric Interceptive Orthodontic Care

The detection and timing of treatment is critical. Having the teamwork of two dental specialists help plan the “best time” and “best treatment” for our patients. The doctors are here to hear your concerns and make recommendations for necessary treatment. Early care is the “stitch in time” philosophy. Sometimes this early care totally eliminates a problem that left untreated would just get worse with time. Other times, early care reduces the amount of later treatment and can provide a superior end result.

Types of Braces

We do not just have tradition braces. Here at Bullwinkel Orthodontics, we have options.
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With a good treatment plan and your dedication, amazing things are possible with Invisalign.
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When does your child need to see the orthodontist?

I’m often asked, “when does my child need to see an orthodontist?” The American Association of Orthodontists recommends being evaluated at 7 years old. While most seven-year old’s do not require treatment, being evaluated by an orthodontist while your child is transitioning to permanent dentition allows their eruptive process to be closely monitored and any issues promptly addressed. Examining your child over their transitional period, allows us to individually tailor the timing of their orthodontic treatment as ideally as possible. These are complimentary appointments and a great opportunity for you to get all of your dental questions answered. Did I mention we have free popsicles?

Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment

The appropriate treatment and the appropriate time

What is the “Two-Phase” Orthodontic Treatment? 

Two-phase orthodontic treatment consists of two separate times when a child receives orthodontic treatment. A first phase of treatment is done while the child still has many or most of their primary or “baby” teeth. A second phase takes place when the child has most or all of their permanent teeth. Braces may or may not be used during a first phase of treatment. Other appliances (the name used for braces and other devices for orthodontic correction) may be used.

Your orthodontist, Dr. Katie Bullwinkel, has the training and clinical experience necessary to diagnose and treat your child’s orthodontic problem. Orthodontists must complete college requirements, graduate from dental school and successfully complete a minimum of two academic years of study in an orthodontic residency program accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation. Only those who have completed this rigorous education and passed the national speciality board exam may call themselves “orthodontists” and only orthodontists may be members of the American Association of Orthodontists.

Why does my child need “Two-Phase” Treatment? 

Dr. Katie believes that your child could benefit from two phases of orthodontic treatment, based on an examination of your child’s mouth and study of diagnostic records.  The goal of this treatment is to create a better environment for your child’s permanent teeth.

A First Phase of treatment is initiated to:
  • Prevent a problem from developing (preventive treatment)
  • Intercept a developing problem (interceptive treatment)
  • Guide the growth of the jaw bones that support the teeth (growth modification)

Without this first phase of treatment, your orthodontist has determined that your child’s problem, if left alone, will create an unhealthy environment for the growth and development of your child’s teeth, gums, jaws and face. The treatment will be timed to predictable stages of dental development to provide the greatest potential for improvement and correction of your child’s malocclusion (bad bite).

Most patients will require a second phase of treatment, often with traditional braces, to complete the tooth and jaw alignment that was started during the first phase of treatment.

How does the two-phase treatment benefit my child?

A first phase of treatment benefits patients physically, enabling them to bite or chew more effectively.  It may reduce the risk of breaking front teeth that protrude.  And for many patients, there is improvement in self-esteem.

Younger patients may be more cooperative and follow the orthodontist’s instructions on appliance wear and oral hygiene. Also the desired changes that result from a first phase treatment may contribute to long-term stability, meaning that teeth stay where the orthodontist has moved them.

A second phase of treatment moves permanent teeth into their final positions.


Does a child's growth affect orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment and a child’s growth can complement each other.  By timing orthodontic treatment to predictable stages of dental development, the orthodontist may be able to take advantage of your child’s growth and development.  Some problems that can be treated quite well in a growing child may require corrective surgery if treated after growth has occurred.

Dr. Katie has these goals in mind for your child's treatment:
  • A proper relationship of teeth and jaws, so that they work correctly.
  • Correct alignment of the teeth, for a beautiful smile.
  • Positioning of the teeth and jaws for an attractive face and profile
To reach these goals, your child needs to:
  • Follow instructions for appliance wear,
  • Keep the appliance, teeth and gums clean by, brushing and flossing as prescribed,
  • Keep scheduled appointments with the orthodontist,
  • Visit the dentist at least every six months,
  • Avoid food that may damage the appliance,
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
How do I know the Two-Phase Treatment is right for my child?

Orthodontic care is not a “one size fits all” approach.  Each patient has a unique problem that requires a unique treatment plan.  What is right for one child may not be right for another.  The diagnosis of your child’s problem and the treatment plan are the result of study of your child’s mouth and diagnostic records.

How can I afford my child's treatment?

Ready for that perfect smile but not sure how to fit treatment into your budget? There are so many options available to help make orthodontic treatment accessible and affordable for you and your family. One option, is using a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) to finance your treatment.  These accounts allow you to use pre-tax dollars toward health care expenses such as orthodontics.  Using pre-tax dollars can save you more than $600 a year on orthodontic treatment!  If used in conjunction with orthodontic insurance, you could have little or no out of pocket expense.

Whether you have insurance or an FSA/HSA, we want to help you make orthodontic care a possibility for your family.  We have a variety of interest-free payment plans that can be customized to suit you and your financial needs.  Do not be intimidated by what you assume may be too expensive.  Our patients are our priority and we will do everything we can to make our care work for you.  Our exams are completely complimentary.

Orthodontic Insurance

Should you get it or not? What kind should I get? Does it really make a difference? These are questions we hear over and over again in our office. The insurance world can be tricky and orthodontic insurance is no different. There are different companies, plans and even variations amongst employers. At Bullwinkel Orthodontics, we will make sure you get the MOST out of your plan.  We won’t stop until we’ve read every line of your orthodontic plan so that treatment fits seamlessly into your budget.

Don’t assume that you must see a provider on the backroom list provided by your insurance company! Most plans offer a one-time lifetime benefit for each beneficiary, regardless of provider and there is no referral necessary to take advantage of orthodontic coverage. We accept all orthodontic insurance plans and will help you navigate the specific details of your plan. Take control of your healthcare and choose the orthodontist you trust.

Give your child the confidence to face the world with the power of a beautiful smile. 

Call us today to set up an appointment to discuss your options.