We take the time to listen to your concerns and provide an orthodontic examination that is completely free of charge. We will be able to indicate whether treatment is indicated and when the best time to start treatment would be. Prior to beginning treatment, orthodontic records are needed to provide specific information in order to tailor your treatment plan.
Diagnostic records taken include x-rays, photographs, and impressions made of the teeth. These “molds” are used to develop models for closer examination of the teeth and how the upper and lower teeth relate to each other. Digital X-rays are taken to look at the root structure of the teeth and how the jaw bones relate to one another. Typically facial photographs and intra-oral photographs are taken to evaluate facial proportions, facial aesthetics and the health of the teeth and gums. These diagnostic records collectively enable us to develop an appropriate treatment plan for each unique patient.
Types of braces we offer
Orthodontic treatment for children? (Through age 12)
Some children as early as 5 or 6 years of age may benefit from an orthodontic evaluation. Although treatment is unusual at this early age, some preventative treatment may be indicated.
By age 7, most children have a mix of baby (primary) and adult (permanent) teeth. Some common orthodontic problems seen in children can be traced to genetics. Children may experience dental crowding, too much space between teeth, protruding teeth, extra or missing teeth, and sometimes jaw growth problems.
Other malocclusions (literally, “bad bite”) are acquired and develop over time. They can be caused by thumb or finger-sucking, mouth breathing, dental disease, abnormal swallowing, poor dental hygiene, the early or late loss of baby teeth, accidents or poor nutrition. Trauma and other medical conditions such as birth defects may contribute to orthodontic problems as well. Sometimes an inherited malocclusion is complicated by an acquired problem. Whatever the cause, the orthodontist is usually able to treat most conditions successfully.
Orthodontists are trained to spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present. The advantage for patients of early detection of orthodontic problems is that some problems may be easier to correct if they are found and treated early. Waiting until all the permanent teeth have come in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, may make correction of some problems more difficult. For these reasons, the AAO recommends that all children get a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age 7. While your child’s teeth may appear straight to you, there could be a problem that only an orthodontist can detect. Of course, the check-up may reveal that your child’s bite is fine, and that is comforting news.
Even if a problem is detected, chances are your orthodontist will take a “wait-and-see” approach, checking your child from time to time as the permanent teeth come in and the jaws and face continue to grow. For each patient who needs treatment, there is an ideal time to begin in order to achieve the best results. The orthodontist has the expertise to determine when the treatment time is right. The orthodontist’s goal is to provide each patient with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time.
In some cases, your orthodontist might find a problem that can benefit from early treatment. Early treatment may prevent more serious problems from developing and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. For those patients who have clear indications for early orthodontic intervention, early treatment gives your orthodontist the chance to:
- Guide jaw growth
- Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
- Correct harmful oral habits
- Improve appearance and self-esteem
- Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
- Improve the way lips meet
It’s not always easy for parents to tell if their child has an orthodontic problem. Here are some signs or habits that may indicate the need for an orthodontic examination:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Thumb sucking
- Finger sucking
- Crowding, misplaced or blocked out teeth
- Jaws that shift or make sounds
- Biting the cheek or roof of the mouth
- Teeth that meet abnormally or not at all
- Jaws and teeth that are out of proportion to the rest of the face
If any of these problems are noted by parents, regardless of age, it is advisable to consult an orthodontist. It is not necessary to wait until age 7 for an orthodontic check-up.
Orthodontic treatment for teenagers
Most patients begin orthodontic treatment between ages 9 and 16, but this varies depending on each individual. Because teenagers are still growing, the teen years are often the optimal time to correct orthodontic problems and achieve excellent results.
Most orthodontic problems are inherited. Examples of these genetic problems are crowding, too much space between teeth, protruding upper teeth, extra or missing teeth and some jaw growth problems. Other malocclusions (crooked teeth) are acquired. In other words, they develop over time. They can be caused by thumb-sucking or finger-sucking as a child, mouth breathing, dental disease, abnormal swallowing, poor dental hygiene, the early or late loss of baby (primary) teeth, accidents, poor nutrition or some medical problems.
Sometimes an inherited malocclusion is complicated by an acquired problem. But whatever the cause, the orthodontist is usually able to treat most conditions successfully.
Treatment is important because crooked or crowded teeth are hard to clean, and that may contribute to tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. A bad bite can also cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing and/or speaking, excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissue, and possible jaw joint problems. Without treatment, problems may become worse. Orthodontic treatment to correct a problem may prove less costly than the additional dental care required to treat the problems that can develop in later years.
Then there’s the emotional side of an unattractive smile. When you are not confident in the way you look, your self-esteem suffers. Teen-agers whose malocclusions are left untreated may go through life feeling self-conscious, hiding their smiles with tight lips or a protective hand.
Adult orthodontic treatment
Today, orthodontic treatment is a viable option for almost any adult. It is well recognized that when left untreated, many orthodontic problems may become worse. When you have a malocclusion (“bad bite”), your teeth may be crowded, excessively spaced or may not fit together correctly. Such conditions may lead to dental health problems. Crowded teeth are hard to clean and, given time, may contribute to tooth decay, gum disease and even tooth loss. Bad bites can also result in abnormal wearing of tooth surfaces, difficulty chewing and damage to supporting bone and gum tissue. Poorly aligned teeth can contribute to pain in the jaw joints.
You’ll be pleased to learn that orthodontic treatment will fit in with your current lifestyle – you can sing, play a musical instrument, dine out, kiss, and even have your picture taken. One in five orthodontic patients is an adult. The AAO estimates that more than 1,000,000 adults in the United States and Canada are receiving treatment from orthodontists who are members of the AAO.
The rate of toothlessness has declined over recent decades. Our great-grandparents, for the most part, lost their teeth around age 40. Today’s 25-year-old has the potential of another 75 years of keeping and using their teeth. This is a major change in dental health care (and life expectancy). Teeth that do not fit well often wear down more quickly-another reason to make sure that your teeth are in good alignment and well maintained in your adult years.