Ideally, it is best for children to see an orthodontist by age 7 in order to determine if orthodontic treatment is required. This is widely considered the best time for patients to begin treatment and/or treatment planning. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually erupted by that time and crossbites, crowding, and other problems can be evaluated. When treatment begins early, the orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaw and guide incoming permanent teeth. Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment.
Most people tend to associate orthodontics with children and adolescence. However, many adults can benefit from orthodontic treatment. Having treatment at later stages in life can dramatically enhance appearance and self-esteem while also improving the health of teeth and gums. For adult patients with damaged or missing teeth, orthodontics can prepare smiles for cosmetic and restorative dentistry (such as veneers and implants). In addition, orthodontics can move teeth to obviate the need for further restorative dental care.
The latest appliances and techniques available today can greatly reduce discomfort levels, decrease the frequency of visits, and shorten overall treatment time. Adult patients may choose from several orthodontic options including Invisalign and translucent ceramic braces.
FOR SPECIAL NEEDS PATIENTS:
Orthodontic care is available for special needs patients, including but not limited to patients with craniofacial syndromes such as cleft lip and palate, physical disabilities, autism, emotional and learning disabilities, as well as deaf and hard of hearing. Longer appointments can be provided with parents and/or support persons present, and special accommodations can be made to see these patients at quieter times during a doctor’s schedule. All patients deserve the opportunity for a beautiful smile.