Like many parents, I know that braces are something that I will eventually have to deal with, and while I had my own set a couple of decades ago, I didn’t actually know a lot about braces. That, of course, gave me a great excuse to chat with our sponsor, Dr. Iennusa about braces, when we should be taking our kids in for an evaluation, and the kinds of things we should be on the lookout for.

How did you become interested in orthodontics?  

In my freshman year at LSU I was playing football at a family bbq and got hit in the mouth.  In the process, I dislocated my temporomandibular joint (jaw joint) and went through orthodontic treatment to help correct the jaw joint as well as straighten my teeth.  It was a hard way to find a profession, but as I always joke, it turned out well in the end.  I love to work with both children and adults and love the challenges that come with each case.  I have always been a problem solver and love to work with my hands, so it only came naturally that I was drawn to orthodontics.  That’s what I do each day as an orthodontist.  I look at a patient’s bite, identify what needs to be corrected and come up with the best solution to assist each patient obtain a beautiful, healthy smile.  It is truly gratifying to get up each day and be able to do something you love to do.  And, at my office, we do it quite differently.  We are very patient focused and the doctor does all the treatment on each patient.  We only schedule one patient per appointment time and in today’s hectic world of running to and fro with our children, parents love the fact that if they have an appointment scheduled for 1pm, they will be seen at 1pm and out and on their way shortly after.  Bank on it, we will be on time, because we have chosen not to schedule multiple patients at one time as a courtesy and out of respect for our patients’ time as well as ours.  I know I don’t like to sit in a doctor’s waiting room past my appointment time and I know parents feel the same. It is a completely different experience than what most parents are accustomed to and has been something we constantly get positive responses on.  In today’s current world of healthcare, where doctors see upwards of 75 patients per day, we have chosen to do it the old-fashioned way.  We see on average 15 patients per day and spend time not only treating our patients with the highest quality care available, but we get to know our patients as well, not just their teeth.  It’s gratifying to be able to really know your patient and their families and in doing so really make life-long friends. We focus on modern treatment with an old-fashioned philosophy.  

What age should kids see an orthodontist?

While a lot of people think that the beginning of middle or high school is a good time for an initial consultation, most orthodontists agree that age six or seven is the perfect age for kids to see an orthodontist for the first time. Why so early? Well some issues can be best addressed when children’s jaws are still developing and when the 6 year molars have come into the mouth. In other situations, early orthodontic treatment may protect a child’s teeth from damage while playing sports.  Studies have shown that the most common age for dental trauma is age 8.  In most cases, a child will be advised to wait until a later age to begin orthodontic treatment, but getting that initial evaluation at six or seven can help reduce costs and get the best possible outcome depending on the child’s situation.

Do I have to see an orthodontist or can my general dentist help me?

It’s really best to see an orthodontist. It takes several additional years of school to learn the practice of orthodontics that is training your general dentist won’t have.

What issues should I be on the look-out for with my child’s teeth?

Many parents worry that their children have too much space between their baby teeth, but usually this isn’t a problem!  Adult teeth will take up more space.  If a child doesn’t have spacing between their baby teeth, that is usually a bigger concern.  It’s always good to ask your orthodontist, but some space between baby teeth is usually nothing to be alarmed by.

On the other hand, if your child shows signs of a cross bite, that’s an issue that needs to be addressed immediately. The sooner you begin to address a cross bite the better your outcome in most cases.

I’d like to thank Dr. Iennusa for taking the time to share a little of his expertise with us! Initial consultations at Iennusa Orthodontics are complimentary. Now is a great time to get that checked off your to-do list. Call Dr. Iennusa today and get that taken care of: 985-626-4779.

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Hi, I'm Katy. Mom to four sweet boys ages 10, 6, 6, and 5. It's a loud, messy, chaotic life. I love connecting with other parents and am so glad you stopped by today!