People of all ages can benefit from orthodontics, but the teen and pre-teen years remain the best time for treatment, since the jaw is still growing. Treatments are generally shorter and simpler, and patients can begin to reap the health and aesthetic benefits sooner.
Children may be wary of orthodontic treatment because they are afraid it will hurt. The good news is that modern orthodontic treatment involves little or no discomfort.
The American Dental Association recommends that a child receive their first orthodontic assessment at age seven. This basic examination can identify emerging problems that will benefit from treatment as the adult teeth come in (interceptive treatment), or problems that are best monitored, and treated when adult teeth have emerged in the early teen years.
The orthodontist may recommend dental appliances including:
Fixed braces – a bracket affixed to each tooth, attached by wires, often with elastic bands on the brackets to further guide specific teeth. The orthodontist attaches the braces, and adjusts them at regular intervals over the treatment period. Modern braces are quite discreet in appearance.
Headgear – a removable appliance that sits in the mouth, fastened around the head with straps. Headgear is worn for a portion of each day, from 12-20 hours. It is often used for interceptive treatment.
Retainer – a custom-molded, removable dental appliance used to ‘retain’ proper alignment after braces are removed, often worn at night.
Contact our office to discuss your child’s needs and find out more.