What is Orthodontics?
The job of an orthodontist is to create teeth that work great and look great too! Orthodontics is the oldest specialty brand of dentistry, which focuses on correcting improperly positioned jaws and teeth. Before treatment, crooked teeth and jaws can be harder to clean and often put patients at risk for tooth decay and periodontal disease.Orthodontic treatment creates healthier teeth and a more beautiful smile, for an improved quality of life.
Who Should Get Braces?
Orthodontic treatment is typically done between 7-16 years of age because the anatomy of the jaw and face are still growing and the teeth developing are, therefore, easier to straighten.
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends most children have an initial orthodontic screening exam at the age of 7. At this age, early intervention is possible, which may provide solutions to potentially damaging problems.
For example, often a child’s dental arch will be too small to accommodate all of his/her permanent teeth. It is possible to use a palatal expander to expand the child’s upper dental arch to avoid overcrowding. Without early intervention, the only later solution would be extraction of permanent teeth to create space, followed by braces for repositioning of teeth.
Children who require early interceptive treatment generally still need braces later on. However, early treatment may shorten and simplify future treatment as well as allow the child to avoid extractions. Early treatment does not apply to all orthodontic issues, but it helps in some cases, such as crossbites, protruding front teeth, and severe crowding.
Patients with orthodontic problems benefit from braces at any age. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, one in five orthodontic patients are over the age of 21. These treatments range from the usual orthodontic problems to adults finishing incomplete treatment from their teenage years. Braces can also address problems unique to adult patients such as:
- Periodontal disease: adults are more likely to have receding gums or bone loss. Straighter teeth reduce the risk of gum disease.
- Worn teeth: teeth wear down and shift position over time, creating a bad bite and increasing the risk of gum disease.
- Unique prosthetic solutions – often a general dentist may want an orthodontist to move teeth into a better position for crown and bridge work. Getting orthodontic treatment as an adult has never been easier. With options such as clear braces and invisible braces, you can maintain your professional look while still achieving incredible results.