What’s the Right Age for Orthodontics?
What image comes to mind when you think of someone with braces? If it’s an awkward teenager, mouth filled with metal brackets and wires, you’re not alone. However, this perception has slowly begun to change over the past few years.
That’s because younger patients are increasingly starting interceptive treatment while they still have a mix of their baby and adult teeth. Many different options are now available for patients 7 to 11 years of age, providing significant benefits, especially when jaw irregularities and interruptions in dental eruption are present.
On the other end of the age spectrum, according to the American Orthodontics Association, almost 30% of orthodontics patients are now older than 18! Part of the reason for this increase among adults is the rapid adoption of clear aligner alternatives like Invisalign.
So with patients receiving treatment anywhere from age 7 to 70, how DO you know when the time is right for orthodontics?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around age seven. Scheduling a check-up prior to the loss of all baby teeth allows our team to identify problems earlier and reduce the risk of complications later. It also allows our doctors to establish a plan for how to create a better bite for the patient.
Treatments at this stage vary but often involve expanders or short-term braces to address local problem areas. It may also include extractions to address overcrowding and assist the eruption of adult teeth. Early treatment objectives are quite individualized and depend on the nature of the issue and the maturity of the patient. One of our dentists can help you determine if an early intervention consult with an orthodontist is warranted for your child.
Most treatments take place at this time since most permanent teeth have erupted and patients are usually in an active growth phase. Starting with an x-ray of your child’s bite, our team can determine if treatment should begin. For most problems, adolescence presents a great opportunity for treatment since jaws are actively growing. As a result, your child’s bite and smile can be more easily modified than it can be with later treatments. It’s also a good age for braces because pre-teens and teens can keep up with the self-care and daily maintenance that goes along with orthodontics.
Adults seek treatment for many different reasons, ranging from improved oral health to the desire for a more professional smile. Some wanted to get braces as kids but didn’t have the opportunity. Whatever the reason, it’s important to remember that healthy teeth can always be moved and can benefit from orthodontics treatment at any age.
One reason for the recent growth of orthodontics among adults is the adoption of Invisalign treatment. When Invisalign entered the scene it added a fresh chance for adults to straighten their teeth without the stigma of metal braces. The clear, removable aligners offer a number of great benefits, some of which we outlined in a previous blog.
Next Steps to a Great Smile
At Grove Dental Group, we can provide the traditional braces you’re most familiar with seeing or state-of-the-art Invisalign treatment. We will be able to recommend which option would best meet your needs. If you or someone you love needs corrective treatment or is dreaming of a straighter smile, contact our office today to begin the journey!