Orthodontics is a dental specialty focused on aligning teeth and the bite to improve function, aesthetic appeal and health. The most commonly addressed issues treated with Orthodontics are:
- Teeth that are crowded or too close together
- Spaces between teeth
- Crooked teeth
- Crossbite (1 or more upper teeth make contact with the inside of the lower teeth)
- Open bite (jaw misalignment preventing teeth from making contact with their counterparts)
Such problems causing misalignment of the teeth and jaws are known as malocclusion. If left untreated, malocclusion can not only make your smile look unbalanced but increase your risk of cavities, gum disease, and lead to worsening pain in and around the mouth.
Orthodontic Treatment Options
In the past, the treatment most associated with an orthodontist is braces. However, Dr. Kelleher uses advanced technology to move beyond just metal wires and brackets by offering patients a variety of alternatives. Some of these options include:
- Clear braces
- Incognito (Hidden Braces)
Orthodontic Treatment for Children
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends age 7 as an appropriate age to have children first evaluated for orthodontic issues. This does not mean that treatment would begin at age 7, but rather is a point in time to begin planning for future care, if conditions are noted. In adolescents, beginning orthodontic treatment before age 12 to 13 (Early Treatment or Phase One Treatment) can be advantageous for better results and often lead to less expensive care overall; before growth has been completed.
There are some specific situations where early treatment in children is critical to the long-term needs of younger orthodontic patients. These include a narrow upper jaw, cross bites with front or back teeth, trapped teeth (from crowding), ectopic teeth (teeth way off course in their developmental position), open bites with front teeth, tongue thrusts or thumb sucking habits, lower jaws that are too retruded (very little chin) or too protruded (too much chin). Also, cleft lip and cleft palate conditions require preparatory work for surgeries, etc. Early treatment may be indicated when it is felt that ignoring an early problem carries the risk of adding unnecessary additional time, complexity or overall expense to your child’s orthodontic care. Sometimes, early orthodontic intervention can obviate the need for more care, after all permanent teeth are in.
Orthodontic Treatment 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.
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. Adults everywhere are taking advantage of the opportunity to receive orthodontic care, and now you can too.
Give Us a Call!
To find out what the best treatment options are for your situation, give us a call to schedule your FREE consultation with Dr. Kelleher.