Adult and Pediatric Orthodontics - Adolescent / Teen Orthodontics & Early Interceptive Orthodontics
Why select an orthodontist?
Just as there are specialists in medicine (such as cardiologists, gastroenterologists, neurologists, etc.), there are specialists in dentistry. Orthodontists are dental specialists who dedicate their professional lives to correcting misaligned teeth and jaws.
Orthodontists are qualified dentists who, after graduating from dental school, go on to additional full-time university-based education in an accredited orthodontic residency program supervised by orthodontists. That training lasts at least two academic years – sometimes more. By learning about tooth movement (orthodontics) and guidance of facial development (dentofacial orthopedics), orthodontists are the uniquely trained experts in dentistry to straighten teeth and align jaws.
Orthodontists diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities. The majority of members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) limit their practices to orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. Orthodontists treat a wide variety of malocclusions (improperly aligned teeth and/or jaws). They regularly treat young children, teens and adults.
Selecting an orthodontist who is a member of the AAO is your assurance that you have chosen an orthodontist: the dental specialist with at least two years of postdoctoral, advanced specialty training in orthodontics in a university-based program accredited by the American Dental Association. Specialty education includes the study of subjects in biomedical, behavioral and basic sciences; oral biology; and biomechanics. Only orthodontists may be members of the AAO.
Why straighten teeth?
Straight teeth help an individual to effectively bite, chew and speak. Straight teeth contribute to healthy teeth and gums. Properly aligned teeth and jaws may alleviate or prevent physical health problems. Teeth that work better also tend to look better. An attractive smile is a pleasant “side effect” of orthodontic treatment.
An attractive smile is a wonderful asset. It contributes to self-esteem, self-confidence and self-image – important qualities at every age. A pleasing appearance is a vital component of self-confidence. A person's self-esteem often improves as orthodontic treatment brings teeth, lips and face into proportion. In this way, orthodontic treatment can benefit social and career success, as well as improve a person’s general attitude toward life.
You may be surprised to learn that straight teeth are less prone to decay, gum disease and injury. Straight teeth collect less plaque, a colorless, sticky film composed of bacteria, food and saliva. Decay results when the bacteria in plaque feed on carbohydrates (sugar and starch) we eat or drink to produce acids that can cause cavities. Plaque can also increase the risk for periodontal (gum) disease. When teeth are properly aligned, and less plaque collects, these risks decline. And when teeth are properly aligned, it is easier to keep teeth clean. As for injuries to teeth, protruding upper teeth are more likely to be broken in an accident. When repositioned and aligned with other teeth, these teeth are most probably going to be at a decreased risk for fracture.
Untreated orthodontic problems may become worse. They may lead to tooth decay, gum disease, destruction of the bone that holds teeth in place and chewing and digestive difficulties. Orthodontic problems can cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, inefficient chewing function, excessive stress on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth or misalignment of the jaw joints, sometimes leading to chronic headaches or pain in the face or neck. Treatment by an orthodontist to correct a problem early may be less costly than the restorative dental care required to treat more serious problems that can develop in later years.
Did you know that one in five orthodontic patients is an adult? It’s true. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, roughly one million adults in the U.S. and Canada are presently receiving orthodontic treatment. Three common orthodontic problems that lead to poor dental health include incorrect bite, crowding and poor alignment of teeth. If left untreated, these problems can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss and damage to supporting gum tissue. It’s important to know that healthy teeth can be moved at any age. As a result, orthodontic problems can typically be treated as easily for adults as children.
Adolescent / Teen orthodontics
Most patients begin orthodontic treatment between ages 9 and 16, but this varies depending on each individual. Because teenagers are still growing, the teen years are often the optimal time to correct orthodontic problems and achieve excellent results.
Early interceptive orthodontics
Most orthodontic problems are inherited. Examples of these genetic problems are crowding, too much space between teeth, protruding upper teeth, extra or missing teeth and some jaw growth problems. Other malocclusions (crooked teeth) are acquired. In other words, they develop over time. They can be caused by thumb-sucking or finger-sucking as a child, mouth-breathing, dental disease, abnormal swallowing, poor dental hygiene, the early or late loss of baby (primary) teeth, accidents, poor nutrition or some medical problems. Sometimes an inherited malocclusion is complicated by an acquired problem. But whatever the cause, the orthodontist is usually able to treat most conditions successfully.
In our FAQ section, we have answers to some of the more frequently asked questions relating to adult, teen and ealy interceptive orthodontics.We love creating beautiful smiles, for all the benefits it can bring. Many insurance companies also cover orthodontic care for adults. So come discover your smile potential with a complimentary exam and consultation. We look forward to seeing you soon!