Early, Adolescent, & Adult Treatments
How long will I need braces?
Each individual is different, so every treatment plan is different! In general, active orthodontic treatment can take anywhere from six to thirty months. Afterward, retainers are worn for as long as recommended. We are here to help you create a smile that will be yours for a lifetime!
Receiving an orthodontic evaluation doesn’t always mean your child needs early treatments. In most cases, if your child needs orthodontic work, we will monitor their growth until it is time for treatment to begin.
What does an early evaluation involve?
While every child’s development is different, the first adult molars typically start to emerge around age six. During our initial evaluation, we take a look at the basic alignment of the teeth, from front to back and side to side.
We also determine if there is enough room in the mouth for all of the permanent teeth. If not, orthodontic treatments are needed. Monitoring your child’s growth from an early age helps us provide the most efficient treatments while preventing future problems.
When is early orthodontic treatment necessary?
For most patients, orthodontic problems typically begin between ages nine to 14, when many permanent teeth are in place. However, some conditions are easier to treat at an earlier age, when a child’s natural growth processes move at full speed.
These conditions include:
- Severe Crossbites
- Severe Crowding
- Protruding Teeth
- Severe Underbites
Helping To Correct Bad Habits
We all develop bad habits from time to time, but there are some situations where your child’s habits may be affecting their oral health. This includes thumb sucking and mouth breathing.
In early childhood, the sucking reflex is natural — it usually disappears between ages two and four. When it persists much later, the pressure of their thumb on their upper jaw and front teeth can cause their teeth to move apart and their jaw to change shape. This open bite can also be caused by the tongue’s force pushing forward against the teeth (tongue thrusting).
Mouth breathing may not seem out of the ordinary, but if your child consistently does it, it may alter the muscular function of the tongue and face and create abnormal growth for the upper and lower jaw. Mouth breathing may start as a response to a physical difficulty, but over time it can be a hard-to-break habit.
If your child has one of these habits, it is important to conduct an early orthodontic screening. The sooner these are taken care of, the less damage it may cause.
Braces are a rite of passage for many teens, as adolescence is the optimal time for orthodontic treatment. Generally, by age 11-13, most of the permanent teeth have come in, which creates the opportunity and optimal time to correct any spacing issues, poor alignment, or bad bites.
Because the body is still rapidly growing during adolescence, it is easier to treat orthodontic problems. There are many treatment options available, including standard braces and oral appliances. We work with each patient to create a treatment plan that effectively straightens and aligns their teeth in a short period of time.
Healthy teeth can be moved at any age, and with advances in orthodontic technology, adult orthodontic treatments have become more attractive to many patients. Today’s appliances have been developed to be more discreet and barely noticeable. For many adults, orthodontic treatment is both socially and professionally beneficial, as it boosts confidence while improving aesthetics and oral health.
How is orthodontic treatment different for adults?
Orthodontic treatment is different in two important respects. First, the jaw’s growth and development are complete for adults, so changing the actual jaw structure cannot be accomplished with oral appliances the way they can with a growing child.
Second, gum disease is more prevalent in adults, so if the gum tissue is not healthy during orthodontic treatment, it can weaken your oral health and cause bone loss. Any periodontal issues must be brought under control before orthodontic treatment begins. Additionally, it is essential to maintain good oral hygiene at home.
408 Chatham Square Office Park
Fredericksburg, VA 22405
35 Walpole St #203
Stafford, VA 22554