At Ashcraft Orthodontics Little Rock, we specialize in providing comprehensive orthodontic care for patients in all stages of life. However, the best time to begin treatment is often earlier on during the childhood stages. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children undergo an orthodontic evaluation by the time they turn age seven. Treating orthodontic issues earlier rather than later in your child’s life can help reduce the chance of oral conditions and minimize the treatment needed to restore dental problems in the future.
When children are in the early stages of jaw and tooth development, it is easier to manipulate and guide the proper alignment of the jawbones and teeth. Waiting until later may cause your child to miss the window of opportunity to treat certain conditions that may be beyond repair as an adult. If your child has not yet had their initial orthodontic consultation, we encourage you to schedule a visit with Dr. Michael Ashcraft at our Little Rock, AR practice to determine treatment timing and whether orthodontic care is needed.
"Lovely staff and Dr. Ashcraft is great!"- K.S. / Google / Sep 26, 2020
"I’ve known Dr Ashcraft for many years and finally it’s time for the kids to go into braces and there wasn’t another option. Only trust my kids with the best care available. Dr Mike is hands down my pick."- R.G. / Facebook / Sep 23, 2020
"First let me say this, like I have seen other reviews saying the staff in the back are very pleasant to be around, nice, courteous, and very friendly, I would agree and I haven’t really ran into rudeness at the front desk BUT however since COVID has started I was not informed on anything. My daughter had an appointment, they didn’t call to let me know they had shut down and will try to reschedule in the future after knowing a little more information. I had to call them and got the automated recording that their office was closed. Then didn’t get a call to let us know they had reopened and if we needed anything as far as fixing braces or other problems with her braces, THEN they didn’t call to let us know they where now able to remove braces now, I once again had to call them!! I know there have records of their patients and they should have on of the staff members at least calling patients. Who knows, we could have had her braces off by now and I've being waiting several months wondering about this information. The last phone conversation I had with their office the lady said they would inform me when they moved into the phase where they could start removing braces, but no call. I had to call them!!! It’s a little frustrating when there is no communication."- K.T. / Google / Aug 28, 2020
"Always good service! He’s a really nice guy and so is his staff. I highly recommend him if anyone needs a good orthodontist."- L.M. / Google / Jun 29, 2020
"I can't even tell you how much I miss Dr Ashcraft's office. He is amazing at what he does and his office staff is wonderful. We are dealing with a new orthodontist after moving out of state ... I would give anything to be working with Dr Ashcraft again."- S.D. / Facebook / Jun 08, 2020
Treatment for most common orthodontic conditions often begins between the ages of 9 – 14 or when the baby teeth have all been lost and adult teeth have fully erupted in the mouth. However, in some cases, beginning orthodontic care before this age can be more beneficial. Dr. Ashcraft may recommend early intervention treatments at this point or simply monitor your child’s growth and development until they are ready for treatment to begin.
At around age six, the first permanent molars start the eruption process. We use the positioning of the first molars as oral markers to help assess occlusal classification, jaw and facial profile, and alignment concerns. This may also give Dr. Ashcraft an idea of whether the rest of the permanent teeth will have adequate spacing to grow into.
Your child may be a candidate for early orthodontic intervention if they have oral issues, like a crossbite or underbite. These types of malocclusions describe how the upper and lower teeth fit together and can impact your child’s eating and speaking abilities. Protruding teeth is another concern that often leaves younger patients feeling self-conscious and increases the risk of chips and breaks to the front teeth. Parafunctional habits, like mouth breathing and thumb-sucking during childhood, can result in a condition called openbite, causing abnormal growth of the upper and lower jaws that prevent the front teeth from biting together.
Treating these types of issues during the developmental stages and before the jawbones fully form can minimize the need for more extensive treatments, such as jaw surgery, and give your child a chance to enjoy a comfortable, healthy smile for many years to come.
What to Expect
To learn if your child can benefit from early orthodontic care, our team will take low-radiation digital x-rays and impressions of your child’s teeth and jaw. Dr. Ashcraft will also physically examine your child’s mouth, jaw joints, and facial profile to identify key indicators that early treatment may be a good idea. Each individual patient’s treatment is customized to meet their needs.
Early phase orthodontics may include appliances, like palatal expanders and space maintainers, to help stretch the bones to facilitate normal eruption and guide unerupted teeth into their ideal position within the jaw. If baby teeth are preventing adult teeth from erupting, tooth extractions may be necessary to create adequate space. For some patients, headgear may be required while others may go right into wearing traditional braces. If your child is not yet ready for treatment, Dr. Ashcraft may recommend annual visits to monitor for treatment timing.
Depending on your child’s treatment, they may need to return to our office on a monthly basis for adjustments to their appliances and continued care. Our highly trained team will show you and your child the best techniques to use for cleaning their teeth and gums while undergoing orthodontic care. Brushing and flossing can be challenging when wearing braces, even for adults. To help your child maintain a healthy smile during treatment, we encourage you to assist them in their home care efforts. Additional tools and techniques may be recommended to help control plaque buildup around brackets, wires, and other hardware.
Ashcraft Orthodontics is proud to work with a number of dental insurance plans and will file your claims on your behalf. Before beginning your child’s treatment, we will contact your provider and review your child’s list of benefits. Any out-of-pocket expenses will be presented to you at the start of care. If you do not have insurance or have personal costs to cover, we offer convenient payment options, including in-office and third-party financing, to help make your family’s orthodontic care fit within your budget.
Take Action Early
Give your little ones the treatment they need now for a bright, healthy smile that will serve well into the future. Dr. Ashcraft offers early orthodontic care to Little Rock, AR patients to treat dental problems using the most efficient approach and help prevent the need for complex care down the road. To schedule your child’s initial orthodontic consultation, get in touch with our team at Ashcraft Orthodontics Little Rock today.