Orthodontics for Children/Teens
Dr. Lash and Dr. Rubin recommend that a child should be seen for an orthodontic examination whenever a parent suspects a problem with the alignment or the occlusion (how the teeth bite together). The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children be seen by age 7 to advise if orthodontic treatment is required and the best time for that patient to be treated. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by that time and crossbites, crowding and other problems can be evaluated.
Here are a few things to look for that may mean your child needs to see an orthodontist:
- Early/late loss of baby teeth
- If your child has a hard time chewing or biting food
- Mouth breathing
- Finger or thumb sucking
- Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
- Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
- Teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
- Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
- Crowded front teeth around age 7 or 8
When should my child start orthodontic treatment?
One of the most compelling and controversial issues in orthodontics today is the "timing" of treatment. Dr. Lash and Dr. Rubin's philosophy is to start orthodontic treatment in the patient's late mixed dentition phase of development (before the patient loses his or her last baby teeth). Treatment timed to begin when the patient has only four to six deciduous teeth remaining involves only one phase of treatment. Of course some patients benefit from early treatment that may require two phases, but Dr. Lash and Dr. Rubin try to treat their patients in only one phase of orthodontic treatment whenever possible.
One versus Two-Phase Treatment:
There are definitely times when early orthodontic treatment is indicated, but early is not always better. Some orthodontists prefer to start most of their treatment in the early mixed dentition stage of development when many of the baby teeth still remain. Orthodontic treatment started at this time usually consists of two phases and the child has braces at a much earlier age. Phase 1 generally involves braces and/or appliances for approximately 12 to 18 months. The braces are then removed and a retainer is placed. In Phase 2, another set of braces is put on after all the permanent teeth have erupted. This second phase of treatment may require a couple more years of treatment. Dr. Lash and Dr. Rubin will advise this type of treatment only when the specific diagnoses deem it practical and justifiable.
Orthodontic Treatment for Adults
Orthodontic treatment is no longer just for teens; in fact, the American Association of Orthodontists sites that one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21! Many adults are choosing to receive treatment because they understand the importance of maintaining their health, and they want to feel better about their appearance. Adults everywhere are taking advantage of the opportunity to receive orthodontic care, and now you can too.
Common reasons why adults are considering orthodontic treatment:
- A bad bite, or malocclusion, causing teeth to fit together incorrectly
- If the teeth are crowded or spaced apart, possibly causing tooth decay or gum disease
- Abnormal pain, or pressure, in the jaw that is caused by crooked teeth
- To have a healthier mouth and a more confident smile
Treatment options for adults
For many adults, the thought of having metal braces is enough to discourage them from receiving treatment. Today's orthodontic treatment options however, offer a variety of braces and appliances that are comfortable, aesthetic, and customized to meet your needs. Types of braces include:
- Clear braces
- Ceramic braces
- Self-ligating braces
- Lingual (behind the tooth) braces
- Invisible braces
- Traditional metal braces
The difference between adult orthodontics and orthodontics for children and teens:
There are actually not many differences between adult and child orthodontics; however, in children and teens the jawbones are still developing. For adults, these bones have stopped growing, which may mean the possibility of orthognathic surgery, in which the jawbones are surgically aligned. Other differences include:
- Gum or bone loss (periodontal disease) — Adults are more likely than children to experience gum recession or even bone loss due to gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease. Patients with straighter teeth are less likely to get gum disease.
- Worn or missing teeth — Over time teeth can become worn down and shift into different positions that can only be corrected with orthodontic care. Missing teeth can cause other teeth to shift and tilt creating a bad bite and the possibility of getting gum disease.
- Incomplete orthodontic treatment as a teen — Many adults received some orthodontic treatment as a child or teen, but never completed their treatment. As an adult, they choose to complete their orthodontic treatment to achieve the healthy, beautiful smile they always wanted.
Our practice also recognizes that adults and children have different needs, and require a different level of attention and care. We will work with you to ensure that you receive the most appropriate treatments, and that your needs are met with understanding, respect, and full commitment from us.
Why should you consider orthodontic treatment?
- Straight teeth are healthy teeth — Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to keep clean with flossing and brushing, and may help prevent other health problems.
- A beautiful, straight smile builds confidence — Orthodontic treatment can help boost your self-confidence, giving you a better quality of life and the freedom to smile without holding back!
- Mouths left untreated can get worse — Not receiving orthodontic treatment when it's needed can create long-term health issues, and end up costing you more in the end.
To learn more about the benefits of adult orthodontics please contact our practice to schedule an appointment. We understand that you have a busy schedule, and we will work with you to make sure each office visit is as convenient as possible.