Orthodontic Treatment Is Effective for Children, Teens, and Adults
A straight smile starts at any age.
Straight teeth and a well-aligned bite look beautiful, but orthodontics has a lot more to offer than cosmetic advantages alone. Orthodontic treatment can alleviate jaw pain, prevent teeth damage, enhance overall oral health, reduce risks of dental problems, and boost self-confidence and mental wellness.
Even better, orthodontic treatment is appropriate and effective for every age. Orthodontic appliances like braces are often viewed as an adolescent milestone, but older teens, adults, and even seniors can also benefit.
Here’s a breakdown of orthodontic treatment for kids, teens, and adults.
Orthodontic Treatment for Kids
Childhood is an ideal time for orthodontic treatment. Interceptive orthodontics can halt alignment issues before they worsen while standard pediatric orthodontics can shape your child’s newly forming adult smile.
As baby teeth are lost and adult teeth erupt, sometimes alignment issues develop; for example, prolonged thumbsucking might cause emerging adult teeth to arrive crooked or crowded. Orthodontic care is typically recommended during childhood because teeth are able to move more easily as the jaw hasn’t matured yet.
In some cases, early orthodontic care at a very young age provides a window of opportunity that would otherwise be lost if treatment was postponed until a later age.
Most children receive braces between 10 and 14 years of age. During this time teeth can move more easily within the jaw, but there are also enough adult teeth present to prevent any future need for orthodontics as an adult.
Interceptive orthodontics is usually a two-phase treatment process. While your child is very young, orthodontic appliances will be used to keep teeth aligned or make space for future adult teeth. At a later age, braces or clear aligners will be used to finish the treatment process.
Early or interceptive orthodontic appliances may include space maintainers to prevent crowding after premature tooth loss, habit reminder appliances for halting thumbsucking, palatal expanders to make space for adult teeth, and partial braces for treating a small number of adult teeth.
Standard adolescent orthodontics are either full braces or clear aligners. Traditional braces remain popular for kids as they eliminate the risk that your child will forget to wear them, but clear aligners are still a great choice for older, responsible children.
Orthodontic Treatment for Teens
The early teen years are a common time for braces and other orthodontic treatments. However, even older teens can still benefit from straightening their smiles, especially if their teeth alignment is making them feel a bit self-conscious.
Teens tend to be more aware of their appearance than children, and that includes how their smiles look. Teens in high school will also soon be entering the real world of going to college, finding a job, and becoming young adults. Getting orthodontic treatment as a teen is a great way to help your teenager feel more confident and prepared for this next phase in their life.
It is fairly normal for young teens to not receive braces until 13 or 14 years of age, especially if their bite is fairly well-aligned naturally. If your teen hasn’t had an orthodontic evaluation yet, it’s a good idea to book one now to see how their jaw and teeth have developed. A teen’s jaw and teeth may continue to develop up until their late teens or even their early 20s, which means even an older teen’s smile will still respond very well to orthodontic treatment at this age.
Traditional braces are still a commonly recommended choice for teens, but older teens nearing the end of high school or who’ve started college already may prefer a more subtle option. Clear aligners can be a perfect way of straightening teeth without it being obvious to others. Since teens are often excited for a straighter smile, they’re usually more responsible about recommended wear time than children.
Orthodontic Treatment for Adults
It’s never too late to have the smile you’ve always wanted. Adult orthodontics have been steadily growing in popularity as more and more people choose to straighten their smiles at an older age.
Why get orthodontic treatment as an adult? Because having a smile you’ll want to eagerly show off to everyone is absolutely worth it. Whether you’re entirely new to orthodontic care or you lost the results you gained from braces as a child, an orthodontist can help.
There is no such thing as being too old for orthodontic treatment. As an adult, the best time to begin treatment is whenever you feel like you’re ready to move forward with attaining your dream smile. If you’re on the fence about orthodontics as an adult, the best thing you can do is book an orthodontic evaluation and chat with your orthodontist about treatment options, any concerns you might have, and get an idea of how long treatment might take.
Clear aligners tend to be very popular for adults since they are nearly invisible. In fact, many adults who receive orthodontic care may not have gone through with treatment if clear aligners weren’t an option. That being said, traditional braces are still a wonderful solution, and in some cases the only way to solve more severe alignment issues.
Orthodontic Care for Your Entire Family in Omaha, NE
The Tooth Doc team is dedicated to providing comprehensive dental care to families in the Omaha, NE, area. We cover restorative, cosmetic, and general dentistry for all ages, and our newest member, Dr. Leslie, provides orthodontic care as well.
If you’re interested in orthodontic treatment for yourself or a family member, you can book a consultation with Dr. Leslie by calling our office or requesting an appointment here. We can’t wait to help you reach your smile goals!