Orthodontics for Children
While there is no exact age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends visiting the orthodontist around age seven.
Even if your child is not quite ready to start orthodontic treatment, Dr. Erhart often recommends that patients be seen biannually to monitor growth, development and eruption of permanent teeth. These appointments are currently available to our patients at no cost.
By about age seven, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, making it easier for the orthodontist to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems sooner and without surgery.
Early treatment allows your orthodontist to:
- Correct and guide the growth of your child's jaw to help the permanent teeth come in straight
- Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
- Create more space for crowded teeth
- Avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
- Correct thumb sucking and help improve minor speech problems
For parents, it's not always easy to know if your child may need orthodontic treatment.
Here are a few things to look for that may mean your child needs to see an orthodontist:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- A hard time chewing or biting 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 around age seven or eight
Please contact our practice to schedule an appointment for an orthodontic evaluation. Early treatment now will give your child a healthy, beautiful smile for the future.
Orthodontics for Teens
Braces, retainers, and everything else that you want to know about orthodontics!
You've just heard the three words that every teen dreads: “YOU NEED BRACES!”
Braces! What now?
Don't worry! Braces aren't nearly as scary as you may think. In fact, braces today come in a variety of styles, materials, and colors, making life with braces much easier, more comfortable, and even more stylish than in the past.
How long will I have to wear braces?
The amount of time it takes to treat your smile with braces depends on three key factors:
- Early treatment — Early treatment allows orthodontists to monitor the growth of the jaw and recommend further orthodontic treatment if it becomes necessary. Not everybody receives early orthodontic treatment; in some cases it may be recommended that a patient wait to receive treatment.
- What needs correction — The amount of treatment needed to correct a problem will determine how long the process takes. Different patients react to treatments differently. While it may take one patient only 12 months to complete treatment, it may take another patient 24 months. Treatment times can vary depending on how quickly your body responds and how much work is needed to give you the show-stopping smile you expect.
- YOU! — Your willingness to use the appliances your orthodontist gives you plays a major role in the length of time it takes to complete your treatment. Always remember to take care of your braces and appliances; this truly will help make your treatment shorter!
Braces Your Way!
Our practice offers a variety of braces, types and styles, to choose from. Some common options include:
- Ceramic braces
- Invisible braces
- Traditional metal braces
Orthodontic braces are a big part of life for many people your age. While braces may have had a bad reputation in the past, today's braces make it easy to look good and feel good! Please contact our practice to schedule your next orthodontic checkup.
Orthodontics for Adults
Orthodontic treatment is no longer just for teens. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists states that one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21. Many adults are choosing to receive treatment because they understand the importance of maintaining their health, and they want to feel better about their appearance. Adults everywhere are taking advantage of the opportunity to receive orthodontic care, and now you can too.
Common reasons why adults consider orthodontic treatment:
- A bad bite or malocclusion, causing teeth to fit together incorrectly
- Teeth are crowded or spaced apart, possibly causing tooth decay or gum disease
- Abnormal jaw pain, or pressure that is caused by crooked teeth
- Desire for a healthier mouth and a more confident smile
Treatment options for adults
For many adults, the thought of having metal braces is enough to discourage them from receiving treatment. However, today's orthodontic treatment options offer a variety of braces and appliances that are comfortable, aesthetic, and customized to meet your needs. Types of braces include:
- Clear braces
- Ceramic braces
- Self-ligating braces
- Invisible braces
- Traditional metal braces
The difference between adult orthodontics and orthodontics for children and teens:
The main difference to remember when treating adults or children and teens, is that in younger patients the jawbones are still developing. For adults, these bones have stopped growing, which may mean the possibility of orthognathic surgery to align the jawbones. Other differences include:
- Gum or bone loss (periodontal disease) — Adults are more likely than children to experience gum recession or even bone loss due to gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease. Patients with straighter teeth are less likely to get gum disease.
- Worn or missing teeth — Over time teeth can become worn down and shift into different positions that can only be corrected with orthodontic care. Missing teeth can cause other teeth to shift and tilt, creating a bad bite and increasing the possibility of gum disease.
- Incomplete orthodontic treatment as a teen or post-treatment relapse — Many adults received some orthodontic treatment as a child or teen, but never completed their treatment or stopped wearing their retainers years ago. As an adult, they choose to undergo further treatment in order to achieve the healthy, beautiful smile they always wanted.
Our practice also recognizes that adults and children have different needs, and require a different level of attention and care. We will work with you to ensure that you receive the most appropriate treatments, and that your needs are met with understanding and respect from us.
Why should you consider orthodontic treatment?
- Straight teeth are healthy teeth — Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to keep clean with flossing and brushing, and may help prevent other health problems.
- A beautiful, straight smile builds confidence — Orthodontic treatment can help boost your self-confidence, giving you a better quality of life and the freedom to smile without holding back!
- Mouths left untreated can get worse — Not receiving orthodontic treatment when it's needed can create long-term health issues costing you more in the end.
To learn more about the benefits of adult orthodontics please contact our practice to schedule an appointment. We understand that you have a busy schedule, and we will work with you to make sure each office visit is as efficient as possible.