What’s the ideal age for orthodontic treatment – is there one?
Chronological age is not a factor when deciding whether a patient is a candidate for orthodontic treatment; there is not one ideal age for treatment to begin. Healthy teeth can be moved at any age. Regardless of age, patients can look forward to teeth that not only look better, but work better, too.
Dr Maroszek recommends that all children should get a check-up with an orthodontist at the first recognition of the existence of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age 7. Few patients will need to begin treatment that young but there are some who will benefit from early intervention. For these patients, treatment is likely to consist of guiding the growth of the jaws so that the permanent teeth are in good positions as they come in.
A check-up while some baby teeth are still present, while the face and jaws are growing, may reveal that immediate treatment is unnecessary with possible benefits being obtained from treatment at a later stage. In these cases, the patient visits the orthodontist periodically to monitor growth and development. This “watchful waiting” gives the orthodontist the opportunity to advise parents when the best time is for that child to begin treatment. Often the orthodontist is able to take advantage of predictable periods of a patient’s growth and intervene so that orthodontic treatment can have the best results possible. There are some things that cannot be accomplished once the face and jaws are no longer growing.
Still, orthodontic treatment can be highly successful in adults. The physiological process of moving teeth is the same in adults as it is in children. Adult orthodontic treatment may take a little longer than children’s treatment due to denser bone tissue in adults. A new smile can be especially profound for adults who have spent years hiding their teeth.
I HAVE BEEN CONSIDERING BRACES. MY TEETH ON THE TOP AREN’T THAT CROOKED. IS IT POSSIBLE JUST TO GET BRACES ON THE BOTTOM?
Whether orthodontic treatment on just your bottom teeth will properly align those teeth with your upper teeth is something that can only be answered by visiting an orthodontist for a consultation.
Orthodontic treatment is designed to develop teeth that fit well and, as a result, wear better over an individual’s life. Think of the teeth in the mouth as a “gear” system. Teeth, like gears, must intermesh well to help avoid excessive wear throughout a lifetime of use.
I HAD BRACES BEFORE, BUT MY TEETH ARE CROOKED AGAIN. I DON’T WANT OLD-FASHIONED BRACES. WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS?
Thanks to advances in technology, your next-to-invisible treatment options may include ceramic (tooth-coloured) braces, lingual braces, which are placed behind the teeth, or clear aligner trays.
Today’s standard metal braces are much smaller and sleeker than those of even a generation ago, and less obvious than the braces you may have had.
Please review your options with an orthodontist at an in-person consultation to determine what type of treatment will be best suited to your needs
Aligners are clear, thin, plastic-like trays that are formed to fit an individual’s teeth. Patients are responsible for putting in and removing their aligners. A series of aligners is created to move teeth.
Each aligner is worn for 2-3 weeks, and moves teeth a fraction of a millimetre at a time. Patients must remove aligners for meals and when brushing/flossing. The number of aligners needed to correct misaligned teeth varies based on the individual’s orthodontic problem and its correction
Traditional braces are comprised of brackets that are affixed to teeth and wires that are threaded through slots in the brackets. Some patients may also have metal bands encircling back teeth. Wires are held to brackets by tiny rubber bands called “ligatures” or “o-rings”.
Increasingly, brackets are generally made of ceramic or stainless steel. Wires are made of metal alloys and deliver a constant, gentle force to move teeth.