As we age, we may discover that our teeth are not coming in quite the way they should be. Whether they are too close together, too far apart, or completely skewed, misaligned teeth can cause serious dental problems. But is there an age when it’s too late to get orthodontic treatments?
What is the difference between early, adolescent, and adult orthodontic treatments?
The right treatment for you depends on your age and individual needs. Here is your helpful guide to understanding orthodontic treatment.
What is Orthodontic Treatment?
Orthodontic treatment involves the straightening or adjustment of teeth. It may also involve the reshaping or realignment of the jaw. These treatments prove useful to those who have:
- Crooked teeth
- Wide gaps between teeth
- Protruding teeth
- Overcrowded teeth
- Narrow jaws
- Bad bites
Orthodontic treatments can be offered at any time, though the scope of the treatment may vary depending on age.
Early Orthodontic Treatment
Early orthodontic treatment occurs when a child still has several of their primary teeth, or baby teeth left. In some cases, these primary teeth may cause issues as adult teeth start growing in. Early orthodontic treatment may be necessary to fix any potential problems before or while they occur.
This form of early orthodontic treatment helps to restructure face structure before any potential dental problems start. Jaw alignment and skeletal issues will be considered when deciding what treatment option works best. Children may be given a palatal expander, partial braces, or a retainer in order to reshape the mouth.
There are a few problems to watch out for that show that your child may need early orthodontic treatment. These include, but are not limited to:
- Malocclusion, where teeth do not align when the mouth is closed
- Bite complications
- A narrow or misaligned jaw
- Protruding teeth
Treating these issues with early orthodontic treatments will improve the chances of adult teeth growing without complications. It also helps orthodontists with adolescent orthodontic treatments in the future if they are needed.
Adolescent Orthodontic Treatment
Adolescent orthodontic treatment is likely what you think of when you consider orthodontics; these treatments can start as early as 11 or as late as 18 years old. Teens or children who have lost all of their primary teeth may need these treatments. At this time, dental problems can be addressed appropriately.
Gaps, crooked teeth, and bad bites are just a few of the problems that adolescent orthodontics can solve. These issues rarely fix themselves on their own. Instead, orthodontists will use tools to reshape the mouth further.
Teens are still growing into themselves, which puts them at the perfect age for orthodontic treatments. Teeth are easier to reshape and mold at this stage in life. As teens grow into adults, the dental accessories used will help the teeth grow and set in proper places.
Similar tools to what is used in early orthodontic treatments can be used for adolescents. Braces, retainers, and palatal expanders are just a few options. Your teen’s orthodontist can walk them through all of their options in detail.
Adult Orthodontic Treatment
Adult orthodontic treatments are used once the patient is 21 years or older. While the body has stopped growing at this point, the mouth can still be altered. Braces, palatal expanders, retainers, and Invisalign treatments can be used to adjust the shape of the mouth and the placement of the teeth.
Did you know that many adults seek out orthodontic treatment to improve their smiles? Even into your adult years, you can still benefit from orthodontic treatments! Not only can these treatments fix your smile aesthetically, but they can also improve your overall dental health.
Misaligned teeth can increase your chances of developing dental issues like tooth decay and gingivitis. Using orthodontic treatments to fix the alignment of your teeth can decrease the likelihood of developing serious dental conditions.
Orthodontic treatments can also improve your speech and biting capabilities. Gaps or overcrowding between teeth can cause problems when eating or speaking; orthodontic treatments adjust your teeth and repair the issues in no time. With the number of treatment options available today, there is no reason not to get adult orthodontic treatments.
Adult orthodontic treatments will also bring back your confidence. When your teeth are misaligned, smiling can feel like a chore. Once your teeth are back in line, you’ll feel right at home in front of a camera again!
Which is Best?
There is no correct time to start orthodontic treatments. You simply have to pay attention to your teeth and watch for signs that you might need dental corrections. Some signs that you may need orthodontic treatments include, but are not limited to:
- Visual issues with the teeth, such as overlapping or misaligned teeth
- Tooth pain
- Difficulty chewing or speaking
- Biting the inside of the cheek or tongue
- Jaw pain
- Gum pain
- Odd noises coming from the jaw
If you are concerned that your child may need braces, pay close attention to how their adult teeth are growing in. Are their baby teeth falling out normally? Is it taking longer than normal for the new teeth to come in?
If there are any abnormalities with this process, or if your child is experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s time to visit a pediatric orthodontist.
Brighten Your Smile Today
It’s never too late to get the orthodontic treatment you need to fix your dental health. If you ever experience trouble with your teeth, reach out to your local orthodontist for help right away. You’d be surprised by the amount of good these treatments can do for you!
Are you searching for a family orthodontist for you or your loved ones?
We’re here to help. Contact us with any questions or concerns you have about our orthodontic treatment options and continue reading our blog for more information today.