Getting Started with Braces
Most orthodontists do believe that people shouldn’t feel they have to wait for their teeth to come in crooked and jaws to become severely misaligned before seeking orthodontic treatment. That’s why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontic appointment at the age of 7. To be sure, adults are increasingly seeking orthodontic treatment and can achieve great results, but when a patient starts treatment at a very young age, orthodontics can often achieve results more efficiently and for less money.
While it is highly unlikely an orthodontist will recommend putting braces on a seven year old, it is a good age for a first appointment because children’s adult molars and incisors typically have come in at this stage of development. An orthodontist can get an idea how the teeth will be spaced and if there will be any issues with crowding. Furthermore, as the jaw is developing, it is more malleable. The orthodontist will be able to identify or anticipate malocclusions like crossbites, underbites and overbites; the jaw’s healthy growth can then be guided by the orthodontist. In addition, many children retain habits like thumbsucking or tongue pushing which can affect how teeth grow in, and the doctor will have a chance to correct them before they do serious damage.
Whether a child, a teenager, or an adult, the place to begin orthodontic treatment is a call to our office. The first consultation is complimentary and takes under an hour. The goal is to see if treatment is indeed needed, and if so, what it would entail. We will take a look at your teeth and see how the jaws are aligned. We will ask about your dental history and if you’ve experienced any issues with chewing or swallowing, and we will take photographs and x-rays and perhaps impressions or molds.
Remember that orthodontic treatment can entail more than just braces. For example, if we notice that a child’s upper jaw is too narrow to accommodate growing in teeth, we may recommend installing an appliance called a palate expander to avoid more intensive orthodontic work down the road.
If you do need braces, we will recommend different treatment options that would work in your individual situation. In this day and age, braces have come a long way since the “metal mouth” stereotype. Different methods offer trade-offs between aesthetics, price, and treatment time. We’ll talk with you and help you explore your options.
In addition, to help make treatment costs more affordable and manageable, we work with our patients’ individual situations. Your insurance may help with costs, and we offer financing plans and family discounts.