Children & Teens
Most patients begin complete orthodontic treatment between ages 12 and 16; however, this differs depending on the individual. Because adolescents are still growing, this is often the optimal time to correct orthodontic problems and achieve excellent results.
Treatment is important because crooked or crowded teeth can be more challenging to clean, which may contribute to cavities and gum disease. An improper bite can also cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing and/or speaking, and excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissue. Without treatment, problems may become worse. Orthodontic treatment to correct a problem may prove less costly than the additional dental care required to treat these same problems in later years.
The emotional side of an unattractive smile can affect children in the formative years. When children are not confident about the way they look, self-esteem can suffer. Teenagers with orthodontic problems that are left untreated may go through life feeling self-conscious, hiding their teeth and their smile.
Braces are not just for kids any longer. Tooth alignment can be fixed at any age if your gums and bone structure are healthy. We offer a variety of treatments that are designed for different age groups – including adults. A new smile can begin today.
Orthodontic treatment at later stages in life can dramatically improve your personal appearance and self-esteem. Improving the health of your teeth and gums is equally important. Crooked teeth and a bad bite can contribute to gum and bone loss, tooth decay, abnormal wear of the tooth enamel and surfaces, headaches and jaw joint (TMJ/TMD) pain.
The new techniques and appliances used greatly reduce discomfort levels, decrease the frequency of visits, shorten treatment time as well as, allow you to choose from several options. Your options may include metal braces, lingual braces or transparent aligners that can be worn like a retainer to improve mild cases of misaligned teeth.
During your initial examination, we will be able to determine the best possible treatment for your individual needs. During this initial examination, we can outline the treatment plan, time of treatment expected and the approximate cost.
Traditional Metal Braces
Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces and are more comfortable today than ever before. Made of high-grade stainless steel, metal braces straighten your teeth using metal brackets and archwires. With metal braces, you have the option of adding colored elastics (rubber bands) for a more unique and colorful smile.
Ceramic braces are made of clear materials and are less visible on your teeth than metal braces. For this reason, ceramic braces are used mainly on older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns. While they are visually less prominent, they do require more attention to oral hygiene as ceramic braces are larger and more brittle than their metal counterparts. For these reasons, ceramic braces tend to be used more on upper front teeth than on lower teeth.
Lingual braces are hidden behind the teeth and are therefore “invisible” when you smile. Lingual braces are 100% customized to match the shape of your teeth and therefore the metal appliances are created uniquely for you. Lingual braces are a very reasonable option for athletes, models, actors/actresses, musicians who play wind instruments, and adult professionals.
Invisible (Clear) Orthodontic Appliances
Invisalign® uses a series of invisible, removable, and comfortable aligners to straighten your teeth. And, no one can tell you are wearing Invisalign because it's invisible! Not only are the aligners invisible, they are removable, so you can eat and drink what you want while in treatment, plus brushing and flossing are less of a hassle. The aligners are comfortable and have no metal to cause mouth abrasions during treatment.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist no later than age seven to evaluate if orthodontic treatment is necessary and when to begin treatment. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by that time and cross bites, crowding, and other problems can be evaluated.
With early treatment, the orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaw and incoming permanent teeth. Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. Treating children with orthodontic problems while they are young and growing allows us to achieve results that may not be possible when face and jaw bones are fully developed. In other words, early treatment, when necessary, offers many advantages.
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process combining tooth straightening and physical, facial changes. The purpose of two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, and aesthetic result that will remain stable throughout your life.
The goal of Phase One treatment is to help the jaw develop in a way that will accommodate all of the permanent teeth and improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. Children often exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper jaw that is growing too much or is too narrow can be recognized at an early age. If children over the age of six are found to have this jaw discrepancy, they are candidates for early orthodontic treatment. Also, if children around the age of eight have crowded front teeth, early orthodontic treatment can prevent the need to extract permanent teeth later.
In this phase, the remaining permanent teeth are allowed to erupt. Typically a retainer is worn to help maintain the results achieved during the first phase of treatment. Periodic recall appointments are necessary to adjust the retainer and monitor the eruption of new teeth.
At the end of the first phase of treatment, teeth are not usually in their final positions. If needed, this will be accomplished in the second phase of treatment. Selective removal of certain primary (baby) teeth and periodic X-rays may be in the best interest of enhancing eruption during this resting period.
The goal of the second phase is to make sure each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly. Phase Two usually involves full upper and lower braces.
At the beginning of the first phase, orthodontic records were made and a diagnosis and treatment plan was established. Certain types of appliances were used in the first phase to correct and realign the teeth and jaw. The second phase begins when all permanent teeth have erupted, and usually requires braces on all the teeth for an average of 24 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure you retain your beautiful smile.