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Play it Safe this Spring

April 5th, 2017

It's springtime and it's again time to remind our patients at Kelleher Orthodontics to protect their faces and pearly whites while out on the field playing sports. According to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, children, high-school athletes and adults have more than 5,000,000 teeth knocked out in sporting events annually.

If you are planning on participating in spring sports, it’s imperative to have a proper-fitting mouthguard. Mouthguards can prevent chipped or broken teeth, lip and cheek injuries, jaw fractures, mouth lacerations and even concussions.

Having a mouthguard can make the difference between losing your teeth or not, and because many of our patients who play high school sports have jaws that are still growing, last year’s mouthguard may no longer fit as it should. Dr. Kevin Kelleher and our team at Kelleher Orthodontics can fit you for a new guard.

To learn more about mouthguards or for general questions about your treatment at our Midlothian, VA office, please give us a call!

At what age should my child have an orthodontic evaluation?

March 29th, 2017

You may have noticed that kids seem to be getting braces and other orthodontic care a lot earlier these days. There was a time, only a decade or two ago, when braces were mainly seen on teenagers, but that is beginning to change. If you’re wondering when to bring your child to our Midlothian, VA office for an orthodontic evaluation, the answer actually has several parts.

The Telltale Signs

If your child has a very crowded set of adult teeth coming in, or if the permanent front teeth came in very early, these are signs that your child should see Dr. Kevin Kelleher, regardless of age.

The Dental Age

Barring signs of trouble or early adult teeth as mentioned above, the time that your child needs to be seen for initial orthodontic evaluation depends not so much upon your child’s actual age, but on what is known as a “dental age.”

The dental age of the patient might be entirely different from his or her actual chronological age; for example, an eight-year-old could have a dental age of 13. It is part of Dr. Kevin Kelleher and our staff’s job to determine the dental age and then make appropriate recommendations for the resolution of orthodontic issues if they are emerging.

The Official Recommended Age

The American Association of Orthodontists officially recommends that kids should see an orthodontist for the first time between the ages of seven and nine. Even if the child does not have all his or her permanent teeth, the teeth growth pattern can usually be predicted quite effectively by an orthodontist.

This allows for a proactive response to emerging problems, and this is the reason that some younger children are now getting orthodontic devices earlier in life. If a young child has serious orthodontic issues emerging, Dr. Kevin Kelleher can usually address the problems immediately and then follow up with another round of treatment when the child has all the adult teeth.

When is the best age to begin orthodontic treatment?

March 22nd, 2017

Most parents know that routine dental care should begin during their child’s toddler years. And many assume they must wait until their child has all of his or her permanent teeth to visit Dr. Kevin Kelleher for an initial orthodontic consultation.

The ideal age for an orthodontic evaluation is age seven. At that age, your child will have a mixture of adult and baby teeth for Dr. Kevin Kelleher and our team at Kelleher Orthodontics to make a determination about whether any problems are present. Typically the first molars have come in by the time your child turns seven, giving us an opportunity to check for malocclusion, also known as “bad bite.” Also, by the time your child reaches the age of seven, the incisors have begun to come in, and problems such as crowding, deep bites, and open bites can be detected.

When Dr. Kevin Kelleher and our team perform an evaluation on your child at an early age, you get one of two positive outcomes. Although treatment usually will not begin until one to five years after the initial evaluation, it’s still helpful in determining whether your child has any problems with the jaw and teeth early when they are still easy to treat. Earlier treatment can also cost less to correct a potential problem than delayed treatment.

Early evaluation, of course, may signal a need for early treatment. For some children, early treatment can prevent physical and emotional trauma. Aside from spurring years of harmful teasing, misaligned teeth are also prone to injury and are detrimental to good oral hygiene.

If your child is approaching age seven, or has already surpassed his or her seventh birthday, it is time to schedule an appointment for an initial examination at Kelleher Orthodontics.

Metal braces, Clear braces, or Invisalign?

March 20th, 2017

Straightening your smile can be fun, but how do you decide which option is best for you? We offer 3 options for orthodontic care including traditional metal braces, clear braces, or Invisalign (the clear and removable alternative). This blog will explain the 3 different options available to you here at Kelleher Orthodontics.

Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces are the braces that have been used for years. The brackets will be placed onto each tooth, a wire will be placed within the bracket, and a color tie will be placed around the bracket to secure the wire in place. This option is very popular with kids, as many of them love the fun of picking their colors and changing them at each appointment.

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Clear Braces

Clear braces follow the same concept as the metal braces but are made up of a clear ceramic material rather than the traditional metal. Each bracket will be placed directly onto each tooth, a white coated wire will be placed directly into the brackets, and a clear color tie will be placed around each bracket to secure the wire into place. This option is very popular with teens and adults as it helps to reduce the visibility of braces.

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Invisalign is the clear and removable alternative to braces. Invisalign is a technolgy that customizes aligners specifically for you! With Invisalign your teeth will be scanned on a digital scanner, which then creates a 3D image of your teeth and simulates a predicted outcome. The image is then sent off to Invisalign where your custom trays will be manufactured. Upon completion, your aligners will be delivered to you and you will start your journey to a straight smile. Each aligner can be inserted and removed before and after eating and brushing allowing you to eat the foods you want. Each aligner is worn for at least 22 hours a day as each individual one is focusing on different teeth and different areas. Your aligner will typically be changed out weekly. As times are beginning to change, Invisalign is becoming a more popular choice in teens and adults.

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