What's the Best Age to Begin Orthodontic Treatment?

Teeth alignment can be more than just a cosmetic issue.

Some people have the misconception that orthodontic care is only for teens. This isn’t true. While it can be an ideal time to make the necessary adjustments, anyone who has their permanent teeth can benefit from orthodontic treatment if they have alignment problems.

There’s also a perception that orthodontics equals braces. While that’s certainly a possible treatment, the fact is that there are more techniques for straightening teeth than ever before. Only you can decide when it’s the right time for you or your child to receive orthodontic care at Greenway Dental Group in Greenbelt, Maryland. So here is some insight into the options that may be right for you.

The traditional option

The technology of braces has changed greatly over the years. You can get braces with brackets that are made of metal or ceramic and are cemented to the front surfaces of your teeth. You can also get lingual braces, which have brackets that are cemented to the rear surfaces of your teeth are virtually invisible from the front. Each of these styles uses wires to connect and adjust your teeth.

A new approach

The Invisalign® system uses clear sets of removable, plastic trays that are custom made for the patient’s mouth. Every couple of weeks or so, you put on a new, slightly adjusted set of aligners. It’s almost impossible to notice the trays while they’re in your mouth. The trays are worn 20-22 hours a day and are removed for eating and cleaning. This newer technology can handle many of the same adjustments as traditional braces.

How soon is too soon for orthodontics?

Usually, orthodontic treatment is held off until the baby teeth are gone and most of the patient’s adult teeth are in place. Most patients are ages 8-14 when they start orthodontic care. Patients older than 14 can start orthodontics whenever the time is right for them.

Some experts recommend that children have an orthodontic evaluation before age 7. Some teeth alignment issues may benefit from an interceptive approach while the child still has baby teeth. In these cases, dental appliances can help guide adult teeth into place. Subsequent orthodontic care may be reduced by interceptive treatment. Braces or Invisalign trays are generally reserved for patients age 8 and older.

Other considerations

When you’re choosing orthodontics for your child, their personalities may factor into your decision about when to start care. Sensitive children may benefit from a delay of a year or two. The Invisalign system requires a level of responsibility and attentiveness from the patient since the trays can be removed. Without diligence, treatment may take longer if the trays aren’t worn as directed. Invisalign now incorporates compliance indicators for trays.

To learn more about treatment options and how orthodontics can benefit you or your child, book an appointment online or over the phone with Greenway Dental Group today.

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