Life With Braces
When is the best time to begin orthodontics?
Though a smile can be enhanced at any age, there is usually an optimal time period to begin treatment. Beginning treatment at this time can ensure the best result and the least amount of time and expense. We at Sierra Orthodontics recommend that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur when the 6 year molars are coming in and the four upper adult front teeth and the four lower adult teeth are coming into the mouth; this is usually around 6-7 years of age. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but an orthodontic examination and an evaluation of the patient’s airway and swallow pattern can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.
What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, Sierra Orthodontics can monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
Why is ages 6 or 7 considered the optimal time for screening?
By the age of 6 or 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time, we can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding, improper swallow patterns, and possible airway constrictions leading to snoring or sleep apnea. Timely screening increases the chances proper facial growth and development as well as an incredible smile.
What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?
Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:
- Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
- Creating facial symmetry by influencing jaw growth
- Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- Preserving space for unerupted teeth
- Reducing the need for tooth removal
- Reducing treatment time with braces
- Swallow pattern correction due to a history of thumb sucking or tongue thrust
- Airway evaluation to correct snoring and sleep apnea
Are you a candidate for orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontics is not merely for improving the aesthetics of the smile; orthodontic treatment improves bad bites (malocclusions), muscle function, and airway constriction. Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment, improper swallow patterns, and limited or compromised airway. Malocclusions can affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth, or feel about your smile.
Why should malocclusions be treated?
According to numerous studies, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems. Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping. Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear. Openbites can be caused tongue-thrusting habits and result in speech impediments. Improper swallow patterns can lead to dental crowding and malalignment. Finally, airway constriction and sleep apnea can ultimately lead to serious adult health issues. In the end, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile-it creates a healthier you.
Orthodontics isn’t just for kids anymore. Tooth alignment can be changed at any age if your gums and bone structure are healthy. We offer a variety of treatments for adults. Traditional braces, “invisible” braces, and aligners like “Invisalign. A new smile can begin today.
Orthodontic treatment at later stages of 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.
Good news! The new techniques and appliances we use greatly reduce discomfort levels, decrease the frequency of visits, shorten treatment time, and may allow you to choose from several options. Your options may include metal braces, translucent or clear ceramic braces, braces on the “tongue side” of your teeth, or transparent aligners that can be worn.
During the initial examination, we will be able to determine the different options tailored for your individual needs. We can outline the treatment plan, time required for proposed treatment, and the approximate cost.
A large percentage of our patients at Sierra Orthodontics are adults, and they agree that it’s never too late to improve their greatest asset – their smile.