An attractive smile can greatly enhance a person’s self esteem and confidence. It’s what people see first and remember most. A dazzling smile is also a sign of a healthy smile. Proper alignment of teeth can reduce tooth decay and susceptibility to gum disease by making teeth easier to clean.
The American Association of Orthodontists agree, it is best for children to be evaluated by age 7 to advise if orthodontic treatment is required and when would be the best time for that patient to begin treatment.
At age 7, the first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in. Therefore, cross bites, crowding, and other problems can be diagnosed. When treatment begins early, the orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaw including the upper and lower dental arches which helps to:
- Avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions
- Reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
- Correct thumb-sucking
- Eliminate abnormal swallowing
- Eliminate speech problems
Two Phase Treatment
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a very specialized process that encompasses tooth straightening and physical, facial changes. The major advantage of a two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, aesthetic result that will remain stable throughout your life.
What if I put off treatment? The disadvantages of waiting for complete eruption of permanent teeth and having only one phase of treatment for someone with a jaw discrepancy are facing the possibility of a compromised result that may not be stable or needing surgery to correct the jaw discrepancy as an adult.
Because they are growing rapidly, children can benefit enormously from an early phase of orthodontic treatment. We utilize appliances that direct the growth relationship of the upper and lower jaws establishing a good foundation and providing adequate room for eruption of all permanent teeth. This early interceptive treatment may prevent later removal of permanent teeth to correct overcrowding and/or surgical procedures to align the upper and lower jaws. Waiting until all permanent teeth erupt could result in a jaw discrepancy too severe to correct with braces alone.
After the early phase is completed, the braces and/or appliances are removed. During this time, the remaining permanent teeth are allowed to erupt. A successful first phase will have created room for teeth to find an eruption path. At the end of the first phase of treatment, teeth are not in their final positions. This will be accomplished in the second phase of treatment. Usually a retainer is worn nightly to keep the changes achieved in the first phase. Periodic observation appointments are necessary for Dr. Paciorek to monitor growth and development and to determine the best time to start the second phase of treatment.
The goal of the second phase is to make sure each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly. The second phase is typically initiated when all permanent teeth have erupted, and usually requires braces on for an average of 22 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure you retain your beautiful smile.
Children that undergo orthodontic treatment around this age are often easily convinced to wear braces because they see many of their friends getting them as well.
The most common time for orthodontic treatment usually begins between the ages of 11 and 15. By the age of 12, most of the permanent teeth have erupted and are settled in place. This means that the orthodontist can now easily identify crooked teeth, gaps and bad bites. Hardly ever will any of the problems listed above correct themselves over time and because of this most parents make the decision to seek orthodontic treatment for their children.
The adolescent age is also a good time for orthodontic treatment because at this stage in life many of the negative associations children have of braces have not yet developed. Children that undergo orthodontic treatment around this age are often easily convinced to wear braces because they see many of their friends getting them as well.
Major benefits orthodontists have when working with adolescent children is that they are often able to take advantage of the growth spurts and rapid growth of the child and use it to help shape their bite and teeth correctly. Also, because children have such high metabolisms around this age, it can often help reduce the overall treatment time and discomfort of the orthodontic treatment.
Braces help correct a variety of orthodontic issues and are used by both kids and adults alike. Whether you have crooked teeth, an overbite, or an underbite, braces will move your teeth to give you the ideal alignment and spacing, resulting in a beautiful, healthy smile that will last a lifetime!
How Braces Work
Braces work by putting steady pressure on the teeth and staying in place for a certain amount of time. The wires and rubber bands are generally enough to keep pressure on the teeth, but other appliances, like headgear, are sometimes used in conjunction with braces for more severe cases. While everyone has to wear braces for different lengths of time, most people usually wear them for about 2 years.
It’s incredibly important for patients to take special care of their teeth after the braces come off, especially if they’re required to wear a retainer. Retainers are specially molded to fit the newly straightened teeth, and they make sure the teeth don’t go wandering back to their original places. Retainers are worn anywhere between 6 months and 2 years.
Parts of Braces
- Archwire: The metal wire that acts as a track to guide your teeth as they move. It is changed periodically throughout treatment as your teeth move to new positions.
- Band: A metal ring that is cemented to your tooth by going completely around it. They provide a way to attach brackets to your teeth.
- Bracket: A metal or ceramic part cemented (or “bonded”) to your tooth that holds your archwire in place.
- Coil Spring: A spring that fits between your brackets and over your archwire to open space between your teeth.
- Elastic Tie: The tiny rubber band that fits around your bracket to hold the archwire in place. They come in a variety of colors.
- Ligature: A thin wire that holds your archwire into your bracket.
- Retainer: An appliance that is worn after your braces are removed that attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth to hold them in place. Some retainers are removable, while others are bonded to the tongue-side of several teeth.
- Separator or Spacer: A small rubber ring that creates space between your teeth before the bands are attached.
- Tie Wire: A fine wire that is twisted around your bracket to hold the archwire in place.
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age and adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile.
In fact, about one in every five orthodontic patients today is over age 21. Thanks to today’s smaller, less visible, more comfortable brackets, adults are finding braces more appealing. Healthy teeth, bones and gums respond well to orthodontic treatment at almost any age. It’s never too late to get a healthy, beautiful smile.