When it comes to orthodontic treatment, tweens and teens tend to come to mind immediately, since they are the patient population people are most familiar with. Parents are often surprised to learn that orthodontics can benefit younger children and adults as well! Here at Langford Orthodontics, we believe that a beautifully aligned, fully functioning smile can be achieved for patients of all ages through the kind of quality orthodontic care we offer. If you are interested in learning about early treatment for your child, braces for your teen, or orthodontics for you as an adult, this guide to orthodontics for all ages has got you covered.
Orthodontics for children
There is no exact minimum age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, but the American Association of Orthodontists recommends children receive their first orthodontic evaluation by around the age of seven, and we agree. At this stage, most children will have a mix of both primary teeth and permanent teeth, making it easier for experienced orthodontists like Dr. Langford to diagnose tooth and jaw problems early. Having the ability to correct these issues early on lessens the chance of them becoming more severe and requiring more serious treatment later in life. This kind of early, or interceptive, treatment gives us the opportunity to:
- correct and guide the growth of a child’s jaw to help permanent teeth come in straight
- regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
- create more space for crowded teeth
- help avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
- correct bad oral habits like thumb or finger sucking
- help improve minor speech problems
Outward appearances can be deceiving, and It is not always easy to know if your child may need orthodontic treatment by simply looking at them. Many dental issues are not visible on the surface, and require the trained eye of an orthodontist to diagnose. When you schedule your child’s initial orthodontic evaluation with us, we will check for several potential problems that could indicate a need for treatment. These include things like:
- early or late loss of primary teeth
- difficulties with biting or chewing food
- mouth breathing
- finger or thumb sucking
- crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
- jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
- teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
- jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
- crowded front teeth from around the age of seven or eight
An early orthodontic evaluation is the first step in giving your child a healthy, beautiful smile for the future. Langford Orthodontics is proud to offer complimentary consultations.
Orthodontics for teens
If you have been told your teen’s smile would benefit from treatment with braces, or simply suspect that corrective orthodontic treatment could be in their future, you are likely to have a lot of questions and concerns. It is totally normal for both you and your teen to feel nervous or worried. But there is nothing to fear! Our team will set your mind at ease by showing you how much easier modern braces are to manage. Today’s appliances are smaller, sleeker, and far more comfortable than ever before. We can even provide a free scan of your teeth that will give you a glimpse of what your teeth will look like with a straight smile. Teens can even show off their personality by choosing from a variety of styles, materials, and colors available.
Langford Orthodontics offer a range of orthodontic appliances to choose from, both fixed and removable. These options include:
- Traditional metal braces
- Ceramic braces that are tooth-colored for a more discreet appearance
- Invisalign clear aligner therapy
The most pressing question for most of our teen patients, “How long will I have to wear braces?” Since treatment time is decided on a case-by-case basis, and depends on the severity and goals of each patient, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. However, we can estimate the amount of time braces treatment will take since this is generally based on a few common factors.
Early treatment — As mentioned above, early orthodontic evaluations allow us to monitor the growth of the jaw so that we are able to recommend, and begin, further orthodontic treatment if necessary. By catching problems in the beginning stages, we are able to cut down on the total time needed in braces by a sometimes significant amount.
What issues needs correction — Different patients react to treatment in different ways, and treatment times will vary depending on how quickly their body responds. What takes one patient twelve months may take another patient twenty-four or even thirty-six months. The type of problem needing treatment as well as the amount of treatment needed to correct the problem is what will determine how long the process itself takes.
Your teen — Teens actually play a major role in the length of time it will take to complete their treatment. By carefully following Dr. Langford’s recommendations, taking good care of their appliance, and maintaining a good dental hygiene routine, they can help keep their treatment time to a minimum. Compliance is an important part of successful treatment!
Orthodontics for adults
Every year, more and more adults are seeking orthodontic treatment. In fact, 1 in 5 current patients are over the age of 21. There are many reasons for this. As we age, we often better understand the importance of maintaining our oral health, especially when we know how connected it is to our overall health. It may also be as simple as wanting to feel better about our appearance. Another factor is the availability of more discreet treatment options, like clear braces and clear aligner system like Invisalign. These offer subtle but effective ways to straighten smiles.
Some of the most common issues we see in adult patients seeking orthodontic treatment are:
- a bad bite, or malocclusion, that causes the teeth to fit together incorrectly
- the teeth are too crowded, or spaced too far apart
- any abnormal jaw pain, or pressure, that is caused by crooked teeth
- the desire for a healthier mouth, straight teeth, and a more confident smile!
Many adults who received some orthodontic treatment as a child or teen never completed the process, or they did not wear their retainer as directed after completing treatment. Teeth that were straightened are likely to have shifted over the years. As an adult, they want to complete the process, or redo their orthodontic treatment, to achieve the healthy, beautiful smile they always wanted.
How orthodontics can vary depending on age
The biggest difference in treating adults when compared to children and teens lies in development. In younger patients, the jawbones are still developing, making less invasive treatment more likely to be successful. But in adults, these bones have stopped growing, which may mean more intensive treatment is necessary, up to and including tooth extraction or surgery.
Langford Orthodontics knows that adults and children have different orthodontic needs, and require different levels of attention and care. Dr. Langford and the rest of our team work closely with our patients to make sure each is receiving the most appropriate treatment based on their particular needs.
Why consider orthodontic treatment for you, your teen, or your child?
Straight teeth are healthy teeth — Properly aligned teeth are easier to clean with flossing and brushing, helping to protect against gingivitis, which in turn may prevent other health problems.
A straighter smile can build confidence — Orthodontic treatment can help boost self-confidence, resulting in a better quality of life, and encouraging you to share your smile with the world.
Untreated issues can get worse — Delaying or avoiding orthodontic treatment when it is indicated can create long-term health issues that may end up costing you more time and money in the end.
Orthodontic treatment for all ages with Langford Orthodontics
Langford Orthodontics works hard to create beautiful smiles for patients of all ages in a calm, relaxing, and comfortable environment. Our strong team of knowledgeable and experienced staff members are committed to providing an optimal orthodontic experience, whether you are seven or seventy! If you are in Knoxville, Seymour, or the surrounding area, and want to learn more about what orthodontics has to offer you or your family, get in touch with us today. We are here to get you started on a smile that will last a lifetime!
- Dr. LangfordBack to Blog