The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that a child be evaluated for orthodontic treatment as early as age 7, and even earlier if the parent or family dentist discovers a problem. Dr. “Duke” believes that some orthodontic problems may benefit from early intervention, as they are easier to minimize if treated early, prior to the completion of jaw growth. Only by evaluating your child and his or her orthodontic problem can Dr. “Duke” determine if your child is ready for orthodontic treatment. More typically though, treatment is started when all baby teeth are out, usually between the ages of 10 and 12.
Fortunately, orthodontics is not just for children. With the advancements in technology, healthy teeth can be moved at any age: it is never too late to improve your smile! We offer innovative options in orthodontic treatment for children, adolescents, and adults, including Damon Q braces, and for adults, ClearCorrect clear custom aligners and cosmetic or tooth-colored brackets.
Orthodontics for Children
It’s best for the orthodontist to evaluate a child as the upper permanent incisors erupt (usually by age 7) to determine if orthodontic treatment is required or if the patient should be monitored periodically until the permanent teeth erupt. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by that time and crossbites, crowding, and other problems can be evaluated. If treatment is initiated early, the orthodontist can gain space for/ guide the eruption of permanent teeth (and avoid the need for later permanent tooth extractions), improve the width of the upper and lower dental arches, reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking, and improve abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify, but not necessarily eliminate, later treatment.
Orthodontics for Adults
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age, and adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile. One of every five patients in orthodontic treatment is over 21. Jaw surgery is more often required for adult orthodontic patients because their jaws are not growing, but latest technological advancements enable compromised treatment if surgery is not desired. Adults who have experienced some breakdown or loss of their teeth and bone that supports the teeth may require periodontal treatment before, during, and/or after orthodontic treatment. While bone breakdown or loss can limit the amount and direction of tooth movement, this periodontal treatment can make orthodontic movement possible.