Towson Orthodontist Dr. Elizabeth Spannhake Treats Children, Teens and Adults Using State-of-the-Art Equipment, Treatments and Appliances

When your child’s dentist tells you it’s time to seek a consultation with an orthodontist, it’s natural to have questions and concerns. To find out more about the latest trends in orthodontics, we reached out to Dr. Elizabeth Spannhake, a board-certified orthodontic specialist with offices in Towson and Westminster, who is dedicated to providing her patients with a beautiful smile for a lifetime.

What is the right age to see an orthodontist? 

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist at 7 years of age. At that point, the permanent first molars have erupted and the incisors are erupting. Early dental or skeletal problems are evident at this young age and if needed, interceptive (preventive) orthodontic treatment can be planned.

How has orthodontics changed in recent years? What are some recent innovations in your field?

At Spannhake Orthodontics we provide many treatment options for children, teens and adults, including Invisalign™, Teen Invisalign™ and Incognito™ (lingual) which make braces virtually invisible. Contemporary brace systems like Damon™ and VictorySL™ make treatment more comfortable and may shorten treatment time. Intra-oral scanning is used, so no impressions are needed to fabricate models or appliances.

How can parents afford orthodontic treatment?

There are many solutions that make orthodontic treatment affordable. They include plans that allow families to stretch payments over the course of treatment, the use of third-party payers such as Care Credit, flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts and orthodontic dental insurance.

Do you have experience working with patients with special needs?

Yes. I have treated a broad spectrum of patients with special needs—children with Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, spina bifida, seizure disorders, cleft palate and facial skeletal problems, as well children who are blind, deaf and/or nonverbal. We treat all of our patients with kindness and consideration. Our goal is to give everyone a great smile! We have created a pleasant and professional environment that puts everyone at ease.

How long does orthodontic treatment typically take? 

The length of treatment depends on the severity of the malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth when the jaw is closed). Most children and adults receiving comprehensive orthodontic treatment can expect treatment to range from one to two years.

Is there anything parents can do to prevent the need for orthodontic treatment when their children are young?

Preventive measures include helping your child to stop thumb-sucking by age 6. It is also important to treat problems that cause mouth breathing, such as asthma, allergies, sleep apnea, and tonsil and adenoid issues. Treating tongue thrust or forward tongue posture and regular dental checkups to prevent cavities are also critical. 

What services do you offer for adults?

Orthodontics isn’t only for children. Our practice also treats adults. We offer Invisalign, ceramic braces, lingual braces, TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) adjunctive therapy, snoring and sleep apnea adjunctive appliances and custom-made mouth guards. 

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