Tag Archives: Teeth Appliance

Why does my child need to see an orthodontist so young?

IMG_4715     Our office, along with the American Dental Association, American Association of Orthodontists and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, recommends every child see an orthodontist by age seven! That doesn’t mean your child will need braces that young – but if treatment is called for, it’s important not to wait.

These appointments are essential to screen for potential issues during the growth phase, and there are many reasons why you should not skip them. First, the initial consultation is F-R-E-E, and in the best case you will be reassured your child’s bite is on the right track. This first visit is a great time to get to know your child and to introduce them to our office. In most cases we are able to bypass treatment at this time and monitor your child as they grow and develop. If we do determine treatment is needed, the interceptive treatment may save you time and money in the long run. More important, we will be able to catch severe problems before it’s too late!

By age seven, your child is mature enough that we can identify structural and developmental issues but still young enough for us to correct them at the optimal time. Once the mouth has grown to maturity, some treatments, especially relating to jaw development, can be difficult and painful, and may even require surgery. Never fixing these problems could mean a lifetime of dental issues and pain.

Not all dentists refer children this young, but you don’t need a referral to see an orthodontist. The following behaviors are some that indicate your child would benefit from an early visit, but keep in mind there are others only an orthodontist will be able to spot:

  • Thumb-sucking
  • Crowded or misplaced teeth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • A bite that is too far forward or back
  • Tooth-grinding
  • Cheek-biting
  • Tongue-thrusting
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • An unbalanced facial appearance

If immediate treatment isn’t necessary after this initial visit, we will monitor your child’s growth and development for a couple of years before determining if orthodontics is right for your family.




One final comment: Many of the dental and orthodontic conditions that are present in our young patients are passed on via genetics from one or both parents to their children. A common finding is missing teeth, impacted teeth and extra teeth. It is wise to have an early evaluation to screen for these and other conditions.

Thank you and we look forward to creating beautiful, confident smiles for you and your family!

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The Evolvement of Brackets

evolvement of braces-vanlaecken-brookings

I am sure many of you are wondering what braces looked like in the early 1900’s. They were composed of a variety of materials such as, gold, platinum, silver, steel, gum rubber, vulcanite and occasionally wood, ivory, zinc, copper and brass. These materials were used to form loops, hooks, spurs, and ligatures. Gold was the most common material used for wires and bands. Unfortunately, it was quite expensive and only a small number of individuals could afford treatment.

In the 1960’s, stainless steel began being the material of choice for orthodontic appliances. This greatly reduced the cost and made orthodontics more obtainable for a greater number of individuals. Most of the appliances consisted of bands being placed around every tooth and aligned with wires. Bends were placed in the wire in order to move each tooth to its correct position. This was extremely time consuming.

As you can see from the pictures above, bands were placed around every tooth until the mid 1970’s. Although brackets had been around since the late 1960’s, there was no way to attach them to the teeth. That was until the discovery of dental adhesives which allowed for the brackets to be placed directly on the teeth instead of using bands or wires wrapped around each tooth.


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The Birth of Contemporary Orthodontics

early orthodontic braces

In 1819, Christophe-Francois Delabarre introduced the wire crib, which marked the birth of contemporary orthodontics. This appliance was the precursor of several of today’s appliances. Before the 1830’s there was no dental degree in the United States. All work in the mouth was done by physicians, barbers, or worse.

For all of you headgear fans, J.S. Gunnell in 1822 invented the first headgear appliance. It was crude in its appearance and he referred to it as occipital anchorage. The headgear appliance has undergone many changes over the years but the basic concept is still the same as you can see from the photo above.

In 1841 Joachim Lefoulon was the first to coin the term, orthodontoise which roughly translates to orthodontia. Which lead to the term used to day which is orthodontics.

In 1846, E.M. Tucker was the first to take advantage of Charles Goodyear’s invention of rubber by cutting small bands from rubber tubes and incorporating them in orthodontic treatment. So for all of you who have had the pleasure of wearing rubber bands during your orthodontic treatment, you now know who to thank.

Two individuals in the dental field who contributed significantly in the last half of the 19th century were Norman W. Kingsley and John Nutting Farrar. Kingsley had several innovations such as extracting teeth and retracting the upper anterior teeth into their place with headgear and being the first one to discuss the treatment of patients with cleft palate. He also wrote a text describing modern orthodontics titled “A Treatise on Oral Deformities”, in which he describes in detail that the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment plan should be the foundation for orthodontics. Farrar was the first to discuss the biology of tooth movement and the limits of the movement. He laid the foundation for “scientific” orthodontics. His Treatise on Irregualrities of Teeth and their Corrections in 1888 was considered the first great work exclusively in the field of orthodontics.

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France Leads The Way For Orthodontics In The 1600s

orthodontic appliance


The middle ages (fifth to fifteenth century) also referred to as the dark ages, offered very little in the forward movement of dentistry and all science for that matter. It wasn’t until the late 16th century that dentistry started to show progress. In 1580 the first students of dentistry were admitted to a university in France. France remained the leader in the dental field for the next 150 years. In 1728 Pierre Fauchard a French physician published the first text on Orthodontia titled The Surgeon Dentist: A Treatise on the Teeth, with an entire chapter on ways to straighten teeth. Fauchard used a device called a “Bandeau” as shown above. This device was a horseshoe shaped piece of precious metal which helped expand the arch. Teeth were ligated (tied) to this appliance in order to improve their alignment.

The Bandeau appliance was improved upon by Ettienne Bourdet who was the dentist to the king of France in the mid 18h century. Not only did he make changes to the appliance, he also began placing the appliance on the back (tongue side) of the teeth. He also published a text called “The Dentist’s Art”. In this text he was the first to call for the extraction of teeth to alleviate crowding. Although several dentists in the earlier centuries had dabbled in the alignment of teeth it wasn’t until the 19th century that several individuals advanced the field of orthodontics with their inventions.


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