For All Ages
Orthodontics for Children & Teens
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist for an initial evaluation around age seven. By this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth. Seeing patients at this early age allows the orthodontist to monitor the patient's growth and to diagnose and correct developing tooth and jaw problems as they develop.
Early treatment allows your orthodontist to:
- Correct and guide the growth of your child's jaw to help the permanent teeth come in straight
- Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
- Create more space for crowded teeth
- Avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
- Correct thumb sucking and help improve minor speech problems
Here are a few things to look for that may mean your child needs to see an orthodontist sooner rather than later:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- 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 seven or eight
Orthodontics for Adults
While the majority of our patients are children or teens, over a third of our patients are adults. Many adults choose to receive orthodontic treatment because they recognize the important role that a proper bite plays in maintaining their health, and they want to feel more confident about their smile.
Common reasons why adults consider orthodontic treatment:
- A bad bite or malocclusion, causing teeth to fit together incorrectly
- Teeth are crowded or spaced too far apart, possibly causing tooth decay or gum disease
- Abnormal jaw pain or pressure that is caused by crooked teeth
- Desire for a healthier bite 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. However, there are a variety of treatment options available that are comfortable, aesthetic and customized to meet your needs. Types of treatment options include:
- Invisalign clear aligners
- Clear braces
- Self-ligating braces
The difference between adult orthodontics and orthodontics for children and teens:
The main difference to consider when comparing orthodontic treatment options for children or teens vs. adults is that younger patients are growing and their jawbones are still developing. For adults, these bones have stopped growing, which may mean that orthognathic surgery is necessary to align the jawbones. Other differences may 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 increasing the possibility of gum disease.
- Incomplete orthodontic treatment as a teen — Many adults received some orthodontic treatment as a child or teen, but may not have worn their retainers consistently and, as a result, have experienced a shift in their teeth. As an adult, they often choose orthodontic treatment to achieve the healthy, beautiful smile they always wanted.
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