Orthodontic Blog

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A Parents’ Guide to Early Orthodontic Treatment

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The American Association of Orthodontists recommends kids see an orthodontist for an evaluation by the age of seven. That’s because at this time, a child will have his or her first permanent molars, which establish the back bite. We can then look at the side-to-side and front-to-back tooth relationships to see how things are shaping up. While early orthodontic treatment has become more prevalent in recent years, that doesn’t mean your child will leave their first appointment in braces. In fact, at Richard Chan Orthodontics, I always treat extremely conservatively with minimal treatment on young patients. Most of the time, I can get outstanding results without two-phase orthodontic treatment. That being said, there are times when stepping in early can prevent the need for more extensive treatment or surgical correction later in life.

What is Early Orthodontic Treatment?

Early orthodontic treatment, sometimes called two-phase orthodontic treatment or interceptive orthodontic treatment, is when a child starts treatment while they still have some primary teeth and are still growing and developing. I’m a specialist in dentofacial orthopedics, so I am able to use certain orthodontic appliances during a child’s younger years to guide their facial growth and the width of their upper and lower dental arches. I can also make room for the permanent teeth to come in correctly. When interceptive orthodontic treatment is indicated, it doesn’t necessarily always mean a full set of braces for kids. Sometimes, phase 1 orthodontic treatment involves orthodontic appliances, such as a palatal expander, that is worn until we achieve the movement or growth we want. Then, the kiddo takes a break for a while until all of the permanent teeth come in before finally using braces or Invisalign Teen in phase 2 treatment when they are teenagers.

However, the good news is, with so many advances in technology and techniques, I’ve been able to achieve really amazing outcomes without resorting to interceptive orthodontic treatment. Typically, when young patients visit for their first orthodontic appointment, I assess their bite and they continue to come back to Richard Chan Orthodontics over the years so I can monitor their growth and development. These early checkups are complimentary. Eventually, when they are ready to kick off treatment, I can help you pinpoint the ideal time to start it. It also provides a great opportunity for kids to get comfortable with visits and become familiar with the office. If your little one has oral habits like thumb sucking, mouth breathing, tongue thrusting or abnormal swallowing, I can give you guidance on correcting those as well.

Signs a Child Could Benefit from Interceptive Orthodontic Treatment

Though the following issues don’t necessarily mean your child will definitely need two-phase orthodontic treatment and we may be able to address some of them without it, they are an indicator that an orthodontic evaluation is needed.

  • Early loss of primary teeth, especially if it’s due to decay or injury
  • Problems with speaking clearly, chewing or biting
  • Very crowded or misaligned teeth at the age of seven
  • Protruding front teeth
  • A significant underbite, overbite or crossbite
  • Teeth that don’t meet together at all when your child closes their mouth

The Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment

I always weigh the early orthodontic treatment pros and cons and if it’s clear that the pros heavily outnumber the cons, then it could be recommended. When interceptive orthodontic treatment is the best course of action, the benefits are significant. The benefits can include:

  • Making space to alleviate severe crowding
  • Directing jaw growth and creating facial symmetry
  • Reducing the risk of injury by shifting protruding teeth into their correct places
  • Making sufficient room for the permanent teeth to erupt
  • Warding off the need for extractions
  • Decreasing the duration of orthodontic treatment in the teenage years or adulthood
  • Boosting self-esteem and confidence
  • Minimizing the likelihood that surgery will be necessary down the road
  • Stopping habits like thumb sucking and tongue thrusting before they cause damage
  • Helping a child chew, bite and speak properly and, sometimes, even opening the airway
  • Giving them the gift of a beautiful smile

Looking for a children’s orthodontist in Mill Creek, Bothell or Monroe, Washington? Schedule a complimentary consultation at Richard Chan Orthodontics. My team and I take a conservative approach to early orthodontic treatment. If it is necessary, however, we will sit down with you and walk you through your child’s diagnosis. I’ll then explain the early orthodontic treatment pros and cons, present you with the best treatment options for your child’s smile and answer any and all of your questions. You’ll feel informed and educated, so you can make a confident decision about your little one’s care. Book your child’s visit today!

Temporary Anchorage Device

What is a Temporary Anchorage Device (TAD) and Why is it Used With Braces?

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Sometimes, braces alone can bring about fantastic results. In other cases, however, we need an anchorage point for a pushing and pulling force to help facilitate movements that can’t be achieved with just brackets and wires. In the past, headgear was the go-to treatment in many of these instances. As you can probably guess, not too many patients were thrilled with the prospect of having a large, bulky, highly visible appliance attached to their hardware. Thankfully, these days, there’s an alternative: a temporary anchorage device (TAD). I believe in using modern techniques that can make treatment more effective and easier for my patients at Richard Chan Orthodontics, which is why I’m trained in the use of TADs. Though TADs are an amazing tool, not a lot of patients are all that familiar with them, so I’m covering the basics. Read More

girl-with-braces-smiling

8 Things You Won’t Hear Us Say When Getting Braces On

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A decade or two ago, the braces experience was quite a bit different than it is today. The hardware was bigger, bulkier and less comfortable.  More frequent adjustments were needed due to less technologically advanced wires. A lot has changed but patients still get a little nervous about getting braces on and about treatment in general. It’s often because of hearing other people’s braces stories from a long time ago, the way they’re portrayed in pop culture or just a fear of the unknown. My team and I always chat with our Alaska, Bothell, Monroe and Mill Creek braces and Invisalign patients at their consultation and let them know exactly what to expect. This goes a long way in helping to alleviate any jitters they’re feeling. We also take a personalized, patient-centric approach, meaning our focus is on ensuring you’re comfortable, relaxed and happy. With that in mind, here are 8 things you won’t hear us say when getting braces on:
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10 Back-to-School Life Hacks for Busy Seattle Moms and Dads

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The first day of school is quickly approaching for our Bothell, Monroe and Mill Creek, WA braces and Invisalign patients. With three kids of my own, I know just how frantic things can be once September rolls around. Balancing your own schedule along with getting the kids to school on time, activities, meals and appointments is a challenge. However, along the way, the team here at Richard Chan Orthodontics has learned quite a few helpful back-to-school life hacks for busy moms and dads. Here are 10 tricks to help ensure things run smoothly when the first bell rings and throughout the school year:
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bbq

Why You Need to Attend Our Patient Appreciation BBQ

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At Richard Chan Orthodontics, we’re lucky to have the best patients in the world! Dr. Chan and our team look forward to coming into the office every day because of the awesome kids, teens and adults we get to hang out with. Transforming a smile is a journey and over the course of treatment, we get to know our patients and their families on a personal level and form lasting bonds. What better way to say thank you for being the best than with a party? That’s exactly what we’re going to do at our 10th Annual Patient Appreciation BBQ at Blyth Park (16950 West Riverside Drive, Bothell). Mark your calendars because this year’s free event will be held on Thursday, August 16 from 11:30am to 2:30pm. It’s open to all of our Juneau and Sitka, AK and Bothell, Monroe and Mill Creek, WA orthodontic patients and their friends and families. Why should you attend? Read More

5 Educational Family Activities in Seattle

5 Educational Family Activities in Seattle

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Those first few weeks after school lets out are always the best. The kids are excited to have a break, parents are happy to get in some quality time with little ones and the possibilities for summer fun seem endless. Then, at a certain point, for some of us parents, we may run out of ideas for keeping the whole family entertained. Or, we start worrying about the dreaded “summer learning loss,” when children and teens begin to forget some of the things they’ve learned during the previous school year. There is a way to solve both problems at once and that’s by adding a few activities that combine fun and learning to your itinerary. The families at our Bothell, Monroe and Mill Creek, WA orthodontic offices have the benefit of living near Seattle, which happens to be full of activities and destinations to help you do just that. Here’s the Richard Chan Orthodontics team’s five favorite educational family activities in Seattle to try out this summer:

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affordable-orthodontics

How We Make Orthodontic Treatment Affordable for Our Patients

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At Richard Chan Orthodontics, our practice is centered on the idea that everyone should have access to the best orthodontic care regardless of their financial situation. No one should have to miss out on having a healthy, confident smile because of their budget. That’s why we do everything in our power to make our Alaska, Bothell, Monroe and Mill Creek, WA orthodontic treatment affordable for our patients without compromising on results or service. From flexible financing to free consultations, here’s how we strive to ensure having straight teeth isn’t a luxury or out of reach for the families in our community.

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weekend-getaway-ideas-for-families

10 Weekend Getaway Ideas for Seattle Families

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Spring is here and after spending so much time indoors throughout the winter, it’s only natural that everyone starts dreaming of their next adventure. In fact, a lot of Richard Chan Orthodontics’ Bothell, Monroe and Mill Creek, WA Invisalign and braces patients already have trips in the works. However, it’s often hard for families to take extended vacations or travel to distant lands with little ones in tow. Thankfully, sometimes all you need is a long weekend to hit the reset button. Plus, living near Seattle means there are tons of amazing places close by to explore. Here are some of the best weekend getaways idea for Seattle families

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Cheap winter activies for kids juneau alaska

10 Cheap Winter Activities for Kids in Juneau, Alaska

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It’s pretty hard to beat the breathtaking Alaskan views, which is just one of the reasons Dr. Chan loves being a Sitka and Juneau orthodontist. He also loves getting to know his patients and their families and in the process, he learns about all the fun stuff going on in the area. We know in the middle of winter, keeping children and teens entertained can be challenging and, let’s face it, expensive. Well, the Richard Chan Orthodontics team is here to help. We’re sharing the inside scoop on some of the best free and cheap winter activities for kids in Juneau, AK.

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Dispelling All the Myths Around Dental X-Rays

Dispelling All the Myths Around Dental X-Rays

By | Orthodontics | No Comments

Even though the Earth is bathed in radiation and we’re exposed to it from so many different sources, many of them naturally occurring, the word “radiation” still sets off alarm bells in a lot of people. That’s why patients and parents often ask the Richard Chan Orthodontics team, “Are dental x-rays safe for me?” or “Are dental x-rays safe for my kids?” Rest assured, we’d never put our patients’ health at risk and dental x-rays, especially the low-dose, modern version we use, account for a miniscule fraction of the radiation that’s all around us. They’re not only safe but also an integral part of the diagnostic process, allowing us to give you the best possible care and achieve exceptional results. Unfortunately, in spite of all of the research illustrating the safety of x-rays, misinformation is floating around. To give you peace of mind, we’ll debunk the common dental x-ray myths.

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