While most of us think of tweens and teens when we talk about braces, orthodontic treatment is for patients of all ages. About 25% of current orthodontic patients are adults, and the American Association of Orthodontics recommends a child have their first orthodontic evaluation before the age of seven, which just goes to show that you are never too young, or too old, to improve your oral health. Whether you are a child, a teen, or an adult— Bennett Orthodontics will provide you with quality orthodontic care so you can have a beautiful and healthy smile that lasts a lifetime!
Whether you are looking for information on interceptive treatment for your child, braces for your teen, or orthodontics for yourself, we have you covered at Bennett Orthodontics. We even created this guide to orthodontics for all ages to get you started!
Children and Orthodontics
There may not be an exact minimum age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, but the American Association of Orthodontists still recommends that children receive their first orthodontic evaluation by the age of seven. Most children have a mix of both primary teeth and permanent teeth at this age, which makes it easier for experienced orthodontists like Dr. Bennett to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems early. This lessens the chance of them requiring more serious treatment because the problems became more severe on down the line. At Bennett Orthodontics, this interceptive treatment allows us to:
- help avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
- correct bad habits like thumb or finger sucking
- help improve minor speech problems
- correct and guide the growth of a child’s jaw to help permanent teeth come in straight
- regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
- create more space for crowded teeth
Just simply looking at your child does not let you know whether or not they may need orthodontic treatment. Many dental issues are not visible on the surface, which means outward appearances can be deceiving. We will be checking for several potential problems that could indicate a need for treatment during your child’s initial orthodontic evaluation with us, like:
- teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
- jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
- crowded front teeth from around the age of seven or eight
- baby teeth earlier or later than normal
- difficulties with chewing or biting food
- mouth breathing
- finger or thumb sucking
- crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
- jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
The first step in giving your child a healthy, beautiful smile for the future is scheduling their first orthodontic exam with us.
Teens and Braces
You likely have a lot of questions and concerns if you suspect your teen may be in need of corrective orthodontic treatment. Your teen may be feeling worried when considering braces, and you may be feeling nervous. This should only be a short-lived reaction! By showing you how the bulkier, more awkward metal braces of the past have evolved into braces that are smaller, sleeker, and far more comfortable than ever before, our Bennett Orthodontics team can help set your mind at ease. By choosing from the variety of styles, materials, and colors available, teens are able to show off their personality.
We offer a wide variety of orthodontic appliances that teens can choose from, both fixed and removable:
- Ceramic braces
- Invisalign clear aligner therapy
- Traditional metal braces
“How long will I have to wear braces?” is the question we hear from teens the most. Since treatment time is on a case-by-case basis and will depend on the severity and goals of each patient, there really is no concrete answer for it. However, since a few common key factors determine the amount of time it will take to treat their smile with braces, we can estimate how long it might be.
Early treatment — In order for us to be able to recommend further orthodontic treatment if necessary, we need to monitor the growth of the jaw. We can cut down the total time needed in braces by a considerable amount when we catch the problems in the early stages.
What needs correction — Because patients react to treatment in different ways, what may take one patient twelve months to correct may take another patient twenty-four or even thirty-six months. The amount of treatment needed to correct a problem is what will determine how long the process itself takes. How quickly your teen’s body responds to treatment also plays a key factor in the time it takes.
Your teen — By sticking to Dr. Bennett’s recommendations, teens can help keep their treatment time to a minimum by taking good care of their appliance, and maintaining a thorough dental hygiene routine. Completing the treatment as quickly as possible all depends upon compliance!
Adults seeking out orthodontic treatment later in life is becoming more and more common. We often better understand the importance of maintaining oral health, and want to feel better about our overall appearance as we get older. Adults are able to take advantage of more modern treatment options, which offer discreet but effective ways to straighten smiles, including clear braces and clear aligner systems like Invisalign.
Adult patients seeking orthodontic treatment often have one or more of these common issues:
- any abnormal jaw pain, or pressure that is caused by crooked teeth
- the desire for a healthier mouth, straight teeth, and a more confident smile
- a bad bite (malocclusion) causing the teeth to fit together incorrectly
- the teeth are too crowded, or spaced too far apart
A Difference in Ages
In younger patients their jawbones are still developing, which makes less invasive treatment more likely to be successful. This is the biggest difference in treating adults when compared to children and teens. The possibility of orthognathic surgery to align the jawbones is prevalent in adults because their jawbones have stopped growing. Other differences can include:
Gum or bone loss (periodontal disease) — Patients with straighter teeth are much less likely to encounter gum disease. Adults are naturally more likely than children to experience gum recession or bone loss due to gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease.
Worn or missing teeth — Missing teeth can cause other teeth to shift and tilt, creating a bad bite and increasing the possibility of gum disease. Over time, teeth can become worn down and shift into different positions that can only be corrected with orthodontic care.
Incomplete orthodontic treatment as a teen — Teeth that have been straightened are likely to have shifted over the years. Adults often choose to complete or redo their orthodontic treatment to achieve the healthy, beautiful smile they have always wanted. They may have stopped orthodontic treatment as a child or teen and never completed the process, or they did not wear their retainer as directed after completing treatment.
Dr. Bennett will work closely with you to ensure you or your child receive the most appropriate treatments based on your particular needs. Our team will guarantee you are met with understanding and respect throughout the treatment process. Bennett Orthodontics recognizes that adults and children require different levels of attention and care because they have different orthodontic needs.
Orthodontic Treatment for You, Your Teen, or Your Child
Straight teeth are healthy teeth — Flossing and brushing works better with properly aligned teeth, and may also help prevent other health problems.
A straighter smile can build confidence — Your self-confidence, will be boosted from orthodontic treatment, resulting in a better quality of life and sharing your smile with the world.
Untreated issues can get worse — Long-term health issues will end up costing you more time and money in the end if you avoid orthodontic treatment when it is recommended for you.
Whether you are seven or seventy, Bennett Orthodontics is all about putting patients first! We work hard to create beautiful smiles for all ages in a relaxed, family-friendly environment. If you are in the Mobile area, get in touch with our conveniently located office to find out more information on what orthodontics have to offer you and your family. Schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Bennett and our team, so we can invest together in a smile that lasts a lifetime!