Your choice of orthodontist is one of the most important decisions you will make when it comes to determining the long-term health of your dentition. By most metrics, choosing a board-certified orthodontist will be the best and most well-supported choice by professionals in the dental care industry. There are other things to consider, however, and your decision will depend on a number of factors discussed below.
A general dentist will have a broad-ranging scope of expertise and experience covering a spectrum of orthodontic care and will be able to treat a wide variety of conditions. Like a general practitioner in medicine, an orthodontic generalist sees all kinds of patients regularly, and when he or she encounters a patient with a specific, sometimes unusual condition, they will send the patient to see board certified orthodontist who specializes in the specific area of orthodontic care at issue.
An orthodontic specialist, as opposed to a general board-certified orthodontist, is a professional who has chosen to specialize in one area of orthodontic care. They will usually have more expertise in their area of specialty than a general orthodontist. Ordinarily, a patient will first visit a generalist. Then, if the patient needs specific care for a certain condition, his or her orthodontist will send them to be seen by a specialist. The advantage of seeing a specialist is they will have more experience and training in a single area of orthodontics and will be specially equipped in that area.
Board Certified Orthodontists
A board-certified orthodontist is an orthodontist who has the distinction of being certified by the American Board of Orthodontics, (ABO). This certification is optional for these professionals, but it can indicate a higher degree of competence, professionalism, and dedication. Choosing an ABO certified dental care professional is a good way to ensure that your care will be done according to the highest professional standards.
Of course, just because a given professional does not have the distinction of being a board-certified orthodontist does not mean that he or she is not a capable and talented professional able to provide the highest standard of care. Likewise, board certified orthodontists are not necessarily the best. It is important to do some research when choosing an orthodontist. You should check for reviews online and ask your friends, family, and neighbors who might have received care from the orthodontist you are considering.
It's not always exactly clear when a child should get braces, however, it’s best to at least be examined around age seven. As permanent teeth erupt, dentists and orthodontists can carefully monitor the progress and potential problems that may arise as the dentition develops. Dental professionals are looking for serious issues that are unlikely to correct themselves on their own before recommending an age for braces.
It's clear that there are certain patterns when it comes to how to erupt and exfoliate. Girls will generally get their permanent teeth sooner than boy. By age 13, they should have their second molars in. There are many variations amongst individual’s tooth size, shape, and position. The age a child receives braces is dependent on their unique developmental pattern.
Cause for Concern
Severely crowded teeth contribute to tooth decay. Malocclusion can lead to fractured teeth and even TMJ pain. Impacted teeth can cause disruption in the normal eruption pattern of neighboring teeth. Due to the spectrum of symptoms a misaligned bite can cause, the age at which a child receives orthodontic intervention is dependent upon their specific case.
The right age for braces may have limits set by the natural development of a child or adolescent. There are certain types of headgear that can only be used on a growing patient, while there are other appliances that can only be used before the palate fuses together. In certain cases, a palate can set by the age of 14, so it's important for parents to consult with their dentist about swiftly moving to correct the problem.
Finding the Answers
For most parents, there is no reason to push up the age for braces. Most kids will have relatively normal growth until their teeth have fully come in. At that point, a dentist can recommend the best course of treatment as to how to straighten and fix any lingering problems. Talking to a dentist sooner rather than later is the best way to get a good handle on early dental health for your child.
Seeing an orthodontist at the right time can make a huge impact on the appearance and oral health of your child. But, most parents do not know when the best age to see an orthodontist for their child is. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that you take your child to their first dentist appointment by the age of seven. Even if your first consultation is with a pediatric dentist, they should be able to identify any bite issues with your child and advise you to see an orthodontist if the problem requires the attention of an expert.
Why Should Your Child See An Orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a specialist in dentistry who focuses on the diagnosis and prevention of misaligned teeth. The American Association of Orthodontics says that the best age to see an orthodontist is at seven years because that is the age at which permanent teeth start to develop. Therefore, any problems that arise at this stage will stay with the child into adulthood.
The Advantage of Early Treatment
It is always important for a dentist to keep a close eye on the development of your child’s teeth because any problems can be treated much more efficiently at a young age. As we get older, the jaws gradually become more dense, making it more difficult to shift teeth. Seven years is the best age to see an orthodontist so they can identify irregularities with the growth of your child’s permanent teeth and treat the defects as permanent teeth continue to develop.
Problems That Require an Orthodontist
Common problems that require you to take your child to an orthodontist include protruding teeth, misplaced teeth, irregularly spaced teeth, difficulties in chewing, biting, or speaking. Early intervention is important because correcting issues such as misplaced or misaligned teeth can prove difficult when the dental structure is fully developed. Because of this, braces tend to be more effective on younger, more malleable dentitions.
What Orthodontic Treatment For Children Involves
Orthodontic treatment for children will involve giving them either fixed or removable braces, although removable braces are more common. However, the orthodontist may recommend a twin block brace if your child has an overbite or a smaller lower jaw. Removable braces are usually followed by fixed braces to achieve the best results. Seven years is the best age to see an orthodontist because the child will have started to grow permanent teeth and any issues will be easily rectified as they appear.
People usually get braces when they have crooked or crowded teeth, an under or overbite or teeth that are widely spaced apart. Getting braces takes a certain amount of commitment both in terms of time and money. In addition to the initial costs and constant upkeep, patients are usually required to wear a retainer afterward. It helps to have a good understanding of why you need them before taking the plunge.
How Your Mouth Works
Teeth can develop differently across populations and each mouth undergoes unique changes. If wisdom teeth come in forcefully, they can push other teeth out of the way as they make room. If someone’s bones are on the smaller side, they may cause the teeth to scrunch together. Jaws can become misaligned and make chewing difficult or even painful to do. Getting braces can correct these imbalances for a more symmetrical smile.
Things to Notice
Bad breath, jaw pain, and difficulty eating sticky or crunchy foods may be good indicators as to why you should consider getting braces. All of these symptoms suggest you need to correct the positioning of your teeth. A misalignment anywhere in the mouth is definitely a cause for concern that will likely only get worse as time goes by. If that wasn’t enough, you can effectively address many of these long-term problems.
Sometimes getting braces may be done as much for improving looks as much as it’s done for health reasons. Crowded teeth, teeth that are spaced too far apart, or a major over- or underbite can cause people to feel insecure about how they look. No one wants to feel embarrassed when they open their mouth, and braces can help alleviate those anxieties by providing an effective solution for a straighter smile.
Solving a Problem
The biggest reason why people should consider getting braces is that it’s clear they help keep teeth and gums healthy. Flossing and brushing can be difficult when teeth are particularly crowded, and patients won’t get the full benefits of regular dental procedures. The easier teeth are to clean, the less likely they are to decay over time. Once all teeth are in their best possible position, regular dental care becomes far easier for both the patient and the dentist.
The two-phase treatment for orthodontics occurs over a number of years. Patients who have crooked teeth, an overbite, or have other problems with the alignment of their teeth can begin orthodontic treatment at an early age. Patients who seek treatment for dental issues at an early age will receive orthodontics in two stages. This allows the orthodontist to work with the growing child, maximizing the benefits of early orthodontic care. When treated early, the secondary treatment that will follow within a few years won’t be as significant. The two-phase treatment approach provides you with the most care when you have problems with your teeth.
Understanding the Two-Phase Treatment Approach
At the beginning of the two-phase process, your child may have palate expanders to maximize the space in your child’s mouth for teeth that will be coming in. The first phase of treatment involves a careful assessment of the mouth and monitoring to ensure teeth are coming in properly. In addition, there will be a resting phase before your child gets upper or lower braces. Getting early, phase I treatment can reduce or eliminate the need to extract teeth in the future. Less aggressive treatment is generally necessary when phase 1 is implemented.
Why Two-Phase Treatment Is Necessary for Some Children
If your child has a narrow mouth and teeth are not descending properly, phase 1 treatment is going to be beneficial. When teeth are crowded, your child is going to be at risk for cavities and other dental problems. Without phase 1 treatment, your child is at a higher risk to need teeth removed before final braces can be put into place. Treatment that begins early often results in less aggressive treatment in the end.
The primary advantage of Invisalign is that it is clear and almost invisible. Therefore, patients can wear Invisalign aligners and very few people will be able to tell. Most people consider traditional metal braces unattractive. Many people, particularly adults, feel embarrassed when wearing metal braces. This makes Invisalign clear aligners a good option for anyone who wants straight teeth without having to wear unsightly metal braces for a few years. Another huge advantage of Invisalign is that it can be removed easily. Patients can remove the aligners before eating, brushing, flossing, and even playing contact sports.
Worldwide, more than 2.6 million people have been treated with Invisalign clear aligners. Every day, the number of Invisalign users grows. It is expected that the number of Invisalign users will grow sufficiently to rival the number of individuals who have been treated with traditional metal braces.
Invisalign clear aligners are able to move the teeth horizontally or vertically. The clear aligners can also rotate a tooth to its proper position. The aligners, which are clear plastic trays, fit your teeth but are a little different. The teeth are forced to shift gradually to fit the clear plastic trays. Your orthodontist will give you a different clear tray to wear every week. Each clear plastic tray will resemble your end result more and more.
Many insurance plans cover Invisalign treatment just as they cover other orthodontic treatments like those involving traditional metal braces. There are many insurance plans that cover up to $3,000 of the cost of Invisalign treatment.