Stages of Treatment
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends children be screened by an Orthodontist at age 7. At this time in their lives, they obviously have a lot of growing to do, but usually have anywhere between 4 and 12 permanent adult teeth. Although the majority of issues will be treated later on in a child's dental development, there are specific dental issues which are BEST treated when kids are young, and Dr. Barnett can let you know your options in this regard.
The goal of early/interceptive treatment is usually quite specific, and NOT meant to fix every single issue. The truth is that there is so much change in the teeth and jaws to come, we want to focus on fixing the problems that will only get worse as time goes by. Some examples of issues that are generally best dealt with as part of "early" treatment include: a small upper jaw, crossbite, loss of space for the eventual adult teeth (usually due to premature loss of a baby tooth and subsequent drifting of neighbouring teeth into the space), thumb- or finger-sucking habits, and some severe cases of deep overbite or crowded teeth.
Other times it is the parents who may choose to correct a problem early, especially if their child is having self-esteem issues because of their teeth. An example of this is a child with crowded teeth who, for whatever reason (perhaps from being teased at school), is starting to refuse to smile and may make comments about how they hate their crooked teeth, etc. Telling this child that they have to wait several years to get their teeth fixed (in the name of orthodontic efficiency), may not be the best option.
Rest assured that Dr. Barnett and his Treatment Coordinators will always thoroughly discuss all your options so you can make the best decision for your child....after all, we want the best for them, and as their parent only you know what that is!
The majority of patients begin treatment between 11 and 15 years of age. There are good reasons for this, and also several advantages to starting treatment at this time. By the age of 12, most of you will have all of your adult teeth in place, which allows us to properly assess your bite and identify any problems such as crowding, crossbite, and overbite. You will also still be growing, which means that we can take advantage of growth spurts to help correct your bite.
Some other benefits to having braces at this age? Well, chances are a number of your friends have them too, so you'll fit right in! Also, because you are still growing and changing, treatment time is shorter than if you were to straighten your teeth as an adult.
An increasingly higher percentage of our patients are adults looking to finally have their turn in the orthodontic chair, or perhaps address some relapse from previous orthodontic treatment. Orthodontics can be an integral part of your overall dental health by correcting your bite and straightening your teeth to improve appearance, avoid abnormal or uneven tooth wear and gum recession, assist in treating TMJ disorders, or idealize position in preparation for restorative work by your general dentist.
The use of current technology in orthodontics today means that there are more options than ever before for adult patients. Tooth-coloured braces and Invisalign are aesthetic alternatives that can help you feel more confident during treatment as well.