Orthodontics for Children
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children see an orthodontist no later than age 7.
This gives your orthodontist a chance to evaluate jaw growth, crowding of erupting adult front teeth, skeletal abnormalities (ie. crossbites, protruding teeth) and harmful oral habits (thumb sucking, tongue thrusts). When treatment begins early your orthodontist can expand and provide more room for erupting permanent teeth and guide the growth of the jaws.
Not everyone needs orthodontic treatment, but if your child does, it pays to start early, to have the greatest chance of success. At the initial complimentary consultation, the doctor will evaluate your child's orthodontic needs and determine if orthodontic treatment is indicated, or if continued observation is required.
The goal of this type of treatment is to create an environment for your child's permanent teeth.
Phase 1 treatment is also called interceptive treatment and begins anywhere from age 7-8 ½. The goals of this first phase are:
- To develop (expand) upper and lower jaws to ultimately provide more space for the adult teeth
- To obtain proper alignment of the upper and lower jaw to each other
- Eliminate harmful habits (thumb, finger sucking)
- Correct abnormal swallowing patterns (tongue thrust)
This treatment, on average, lasts about 9-12 months and may include expanders and/or braces. The first phase of treatment is followed by a rest period when the child wears a retainer at night and is followed with periodic recall appointments to evaluate the eruption of the remaining permanent teeth.
Phase 2 treatment, usually at age 11-13, is started when most of the permanent have erupted and requires braces on all the teeth for approximately 12-15 months. This second phase of treatment aligns the permanent teeth into their final position.
The disadvantage of not choosing two-phase treatment, and waiting for all permanent teeth to erupt before starting orthodontic treatment, is the possibility of losing out on the window of time where expansion may be done. This may lead to crowding or bite probelms that are so severe it makes extracting teeth or corrective jaw surgery necessary.
Orthodontics for Adults
You are never too old to benefit from orthodontics.
Healthy teeth can be moved at any age. One in every 5 orthodontic patients is over the age of 21.
Many choices are available for adult treatment. Some of these include Invisalign treatment, ceramic (clear) braces, and lingual braces (behind the teeth). There is even a technique called Accelerated Osteogenic Orthodontics that Dr. Bancroft is certified in and treatment can be completed in 6-9 months. These options can be discussed with your orthodontist.
Advances in orthodontics have made treatment more comfortable and more successful for adults.
Jaw surgery is sometimes required in conjunction with adult orthodontic treatment if the jaw discrepancy makes it difficult for the teeth to occlude (come together) properly.
Your orthodontist will work with your general dentist, periodontist, and oral surgeon to provide a comprehensive approach to your dental treatment.
Surgical orthodontics (orthognathic surgery) corrects jaw irregularities (ie. underbites, open bites) and obtains a proper relationship between upper and lower jaws. Your orthodontist will work in conjunction with an oral surgeon on these cases. Surgery is done in conjunction with braces so that the teeth and jaws are all properly aligned.