Traditionally, orthodontics has been carried out in the early teenage years between 11 and 14. In fact, an orthodontist can improve a smile at any age.
Today children are increasingly seen at an earlier age, 7 or 9, to take advantage of interceptive (early) orthodontics when indicated.
Adults in the U.K. are now more aware of their teeth and smile, and are realising that they too, can have treatment. This decision is easier with the new aesthetic or invisible appliances that are available.
Many conditions seen in younger children can benefit by being treated early rather than waiting until all their adult teeth have erupted.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that “the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but close examination can anticipate the best time to begin treatment”.
The benefits of early orthodontic assessment is that it provides an opportunity for prudent intervention to guide growth, and intercept problems. If orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development, and begin treatment at the appropriate time.
Specific conditions which can be improved are;
- Crossbites, where the upper teeth bite inside the lowers. These can be unsightly, but in addition, if left untreated, can lead to jaw displacements, unfavorable tooth wear, and damage to the local gum level.
- Early crowding. In some youngsters, measures can be taken to reduce the need for adult tooth extractions in later orthodontic treatment.
- Preserving space for any unerupted teeth.
- Protruding teeth can be corrected, so that they are less susceptible to injury.
- Improving the relationship of the jaws, to encourage normal growth and development.
Early treatment takes advantage of the good cooperation and growth of children at this age, and improves the facial appearance and a child’s self-esteem particularly if bullying is involved. Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make an attractive smile – it helps create a healthier child.
Definitive orthodontic treatment will start in many cases when most of the adult teeth have come through in the mouth, or very close to doing so.
The most popular brace is the fixed brace on the outside surface of the teeth. Most choose a metal type which can be made more fun by adding different colours. These colours can be changed at your orthodontic appointments which occur at regular intervals of between 5 to 9 weeks. Since braces have become so common in this age group, they are generally accepted as normal.
Clear braces are also available for the older teenager but more care is needed since these braces can be more brittle. In selected adolescents, there is also the option to use the appliances which in the past were generally only used in adults. These are Clear aligners such as Invisalign™, and Lingual braces (Inside braces) and now are routinely included in any case assessment.
Braces aren’t just for children anymore. Teeth can be straightened at any age if your gums and bone structure are healthy. Dr Manara offers a variety of treatments that are designed for different age groups – including adults. Your new smile can begin today.
Orthodontic treatment at later stages in life can dramatically improve your personal appearance and self-esteem. Improving the health of your teeth and gums is equally important. Crooked teeth and a bad bite can contribute to gum and bone loss, tooth decay, abnormal wear of the tooth enamel and surfaces.
Dr Manara works closely with your general dentist and other specialists when needed, such as when space is needed for implant placement or moving teeth in the correct position before cosmetic work by your dentist such as bleaching or veneers.
The good news is that the new techniques and appliances Dr Manara uses allows you to straighten your teeth without needing to show that full-metal-look we all disliked as teenagers. Your options will be discussed fully at your initial examination, but generally, the most common methods for adults are clear braces, lingual braces or clear liners. Very light wires are used to keep any discomfort to a minimum. Once orthodontic records are taken, Dr Manara will outline the treatment plan, time of treatment expected and the approximate cost.
A large percentage of our patients are adults, and they agree that it’s never too late to improve their greatest asset – their smile.