We tend to have a certain image in mind when we think of orthodontics, and it often has to do with a teenager in braces. It can come as a surprise to learn that orthodontic treatment offers way more than braces, and can benefit children and adults as well as tweens and teens. Here at Kaplan Orthodontics, we provide quality orthodontic care to patients of all ages. We believe children, teens, and adults alike deserve a beautifully aligned smile!
To provide you with more information about what we have to offer each age range, we’ve put together this guide to orthodontics for all ages. Whether you’re looking for information on early treatment for your child, braces for your teen, clear aligner therapy for you as an adult, or any combination of these, we’ve got you covered!
Orthodontics for children
There’s no exact minimum age for children to begin orthodontic treatment. However, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends children receive their first orthodontic evaluation by around the age of seven, and we agree! By this stage in life, most children will have a good mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, making it easier for orthodontists like Dr. Kaplan
to catch tooth and jaw problems early. This enables us to diagnose and correct these issues before they have the chance to become more severe, which will often require more serious treatment.
If we do notice a need for early treatment, we will create a customized plan addressing the patient’s specific dental problems. Providing interceptive treatment allows us to:
- correct and guide the growth of the 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
- correct bad habits like thumb or finger sucking
- help improve any minor speech problems
Looks can be deceiving in many ways, and it can be difficult to assess if your child may need orthodontic treatment by observing their outward appearance alone. Many orthodontic issues will only be visible to the trained eye of an experienced orthodontist, like Dr. Kaplan.There are a few things you can look out for that may indicate your child needs to see an orthodontist, however, such as:
- the early or late loss of baby teeth
- having a difficult time with biting or chewing 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 don’t come together at all
- jaws and teeth that aren’t proportionate to the rest of the face
- crowded front teeth from around the age of seven or eight
Early treatment begins by scheduling an appointment for your child’s first orthodontic evaluation. Kaplan Orthodontics is proud to offer a complimentary initial consultation to all patients. This introductory exam with Dr. Kaplan is the first step in giving your child a healthy, beautiful, and functional smile for the future!
Orthodontics for teens
If you’ve recently discovered your teen is in need of corrective orthodontic treatment, or just suspect they could benefit from it, it’s common to have a lot of questions and concerns. You may be feeling nervous or unsure when considering braces treatment. Our team understands that committing to orthodontic treatment for your teen can be overwhelming, and we will work with both you and your teen to set your minds at ease.
Fortunately, the awkward, uncomfortable metal braces of years past are no longer the standard. Today’s braces are smaller, sleeker, and far more comfortable than ever before, and are even available in a variety of styles, materials, and colors, to better fit your teen’s personality and lifestyle. There are also more subtle treatments available, including clear aligner therapy, such as Invisalign.
Kaplan Orthodontics offers a variety of these orthodontic appliances to choose from, both fixed and removable. These options include:
- Invisalign Teen
- Carriere SLX self-ligating braces
- Carriere Motion
- Damon self-ligating braces
- Metal braces
The biggest question on the mind of most teens we see is how long they will need to be in braces. While we may not have a one-size-fits-all answer to that, we can estimate the amount of time it will take to treat their teeth. We generally base this estimate on a few key factors.
Early treatment — As we’ve mentioned, an orthodontic evaluation by seven years old gives us the opportunity to catch potential problems before they have a chance to become more serious. Early treatment allows us to monitor the growth of the jaw and teeth, and recommend further orthodontic treatment if necessary. By diagnosing and treating oral issues in the beginning stages, which can cut down on the total time needed in braces, sometimes by quite a considerable amount!
What is in need of correction — Each patient reacts to treatment in their own way. Treatment times vary depending on how quickly your teen’s body responds, and how much actual work is actually needed to correct their issues. This means that what takes one patient only twelve months to correct may take another patient twenty-four months, or even longer. The amount of treatment that’s needed to fully correct a problem is what determines how long the process itself will take.
Your teen — Teens have a major role to play in their own treatment. By following Dr. Kaplan’s recommendations, taking good care of their braces, and maintaining an excellent dental hygiene routine, they can keep their treatment time to a minimum. Compliance is key to completing treatment as quickly as possible, so it’s important for your teen to be responsible and reliable with their braces.
Orthodontics for adults
Many adults are now choosing to receive treatment later in life, for a variety of reasons. As we age, we often instinctively begin to understand how important it is to maintain our oral health, because it affects our overall health. They may feel that they can finally afford the time and financial commitment to straighten their smile, and simply want to feel better about their appearance. Better treatment options are also often a factor, with several discreet but effective ways to straighten adult smiles now available, including clear aligner systems like Invisalign.
Some of the most common issues we see in adult patients seeking orthodontic treatment are:
- a bad bite (malocclusion) causing the teeth to fit together incorrectly
- the teeth are too crowded, or spaced too far apart
- any abnormal jaw pain, or pressure that is caused by crooked teeth
- a desire for a healthier mouth and a more confident smile
The difference in treating adults, teens, and children
In younger patients, the jawbones are still developing, and this means that less invasive treatment is more likely to be successful. In adult patients, these bones have stopped growing, which could increase the need for more serious treatment, including tooth extraction and possibly oral surgery. Other differences can 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 much less likely to encounter gum disease.
Worn or missing teeth — Over time teeth wear down and shift into less than optimal 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 — Many adults we see have received some orthodontic treatment as a child or teen, but never completed the process. They choose to complete this treatment in adulthood in order to achieve the healthy, beautiful smile they always wanted.
Beautiful smiles for all ages is possible with Kaplan Orthodontics
Whatever the age, orthodontics can be beneficial. Properly aligned teeth are easier to clean with flossing and brushing, and may also help prevent other health problems. Orthodontic treatment can help boost self-esteem, resulting in a better quality of life, and the ability to show your smile off to the world. And perhaps most importantly, untreated dental issues can get worse, creating long-term problems that could cost you more time and money in the end.
Here at Kaplan Orthodontics, we recognize that adults and children have different orthodontic needs, and will require a different level of attention and care. Dr. Kaplan and the rest of our dedicated team will work with you to ensure that you or your child receives the most appropriate treatments, and that you and your family are met with understanding and respect from our office.
If you’re in Dunwoody or the surrounding area, and would like more information on what orthodontic treatment has to offer you or your family, get in touch with our office today to schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Kaplan. We’re ready to get you started on a smile that will last a lifetime!