Orthodontics for Kids/Teens
Dr. Chaffee, as well as the American Association of Orthodontists, recommends that children seek their initial consultation with the orthodontist at around age 7. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by that age. Many patients that we see at that age are placed on periodic observation, and treatment, if needed, is often begun at a later date. However, seeing patients at age 7 allows us to rule out certain types of orthodontic problems that are best treated early.
Early treatment is recommended in a few situations. For example, upper jaw expansion is used if the jaw is to narrow and a crossbite exists. We choose to treat some cases involving severe dental crowding early, making more room for permanent teeth to erupt in the future. Cessation of certain habits, such as thumb sucking habits, are also important to resolve at an early age. In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment.
Seeing patients at an early age allows us to rule out certain problems, identify current and anticipated orthodontic problems, and to advise you of what to expect and plan for in the next few years.
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age, and adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile. One of every five patients in orthodontic treatment is over 21.
Jaw surgery is more often required for adult orthodontic patients because their jaws are not growing. Adults also may have experienced some breakdown or loss of their teeth and bone that supports the teeth and may require periodontal treatment before, during and/or after orthodontic treatment. Bone loss can also limit the amount and direction of tooth movement that is advisable.