For Children and Adults
For Children and Adults
Orthodontics for Kids/Teens
When is the best time for a child to begin orthodontic treatment? The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children should see an orthodontist at the first sign of an orthodontic problem or no later than age 7. The first permanent molars (back teeth) and incisors (front teeth) have usually come in by that time and crossbites, crowding, and other problems can be evaluated. Dr. Bowdoin can advise if treatment is indicated and, if so, when the best time to begin treatment will be.
When treatment is necessary in younger children, the orthodontist can often guide the growth of the jaw and guide incoming permanent teeth. Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, possibly avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking and other habits, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment. Please refer to the “Two Phase Treatment” section of our web site for further information.
It is important to understand that most children are not ready for orthodontic treatment at this early age. But vigilant examination is important so that treatment is begun at the most advantageous time for each patient. Early evaluation provides timely detection of problems and a greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Dr. Bowdoin only treats children at an early age if she feels it is truly necessary. Some reasons for early treatment are: if the patient has a skeletal or functional problem; if they are at risk of traumatic injury/damage to the teeth; or if there is a psychological problem associated with the appearance of the teeth. If orthodontic treatment is not required at this time, Dr. Bowdoin will carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment, if necessary, at the ideal time for that patient.
The majority of our orthodontic patients are adolescents entering their teenage years. Assuming normal skeletal relationships, Dr. Bowdoin believes that children should not receive their braces until the eruption of all of their permanent teeth, thereby helping to ensure that all of the teeth are incorporated into each patient’s appliance(s). This philosophy helps to ensure that our patients are in treatment for the least amount of time possible while achieving the best results.
We offer our adolescent patients a variety of treatment options. Please refer to the "Types of Braces" section for further information on appliances we may use to help you achieve a beautiful smile.
Braces aren’t just for kids anymore. Did you know that one of every five patients in orthodontic treatment is over age 21? We often find that adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile. Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age as long as your bone structure and gums are healthy. Crooked teeth and a bite that doesn’t fit properly can lead to abnormal or increased wear of the teeth, gum and/or bone loss, headaches and joint (TMJ) discomfort. The exciting news is our office uses the latest techniques and appliances that reduces discomfort, decreases the frequency of visits, and may lead to shortened treatment time. There are several options available to our adult patients including clear braces, Invisalign (clear aligners worn over the teeth), self-ligating metal braces, or a customized system called Insignia. During your initial visit to our office, we will discuss your specific treatment needs and the options available to you. Orthodontic treatment at later stages in life can dramatically improve your personal appearance and self-esteem, as well as improve the health of your teeth and gums, which is equally important. It’s never too late to improve your smile!
It is important and necessary to have healthy teeth and bones before considering orthodontic treatment. Some adults may have experienced breakdown or loss of their teeth and bone that supports the teeth (known as periodontal disease) and may require periodontal treatment before, during and/or after orthodontic treatment. Bone loss can also limit the amount and direction of tooth movement that is advisable. We will discuss this in more detail during the initial exam, and if necessary will work with you, your dentist, and/or your periodontist to determine the best treatment plan for you.
If there is a severe problem or discrepancy in the relationship of the jaws in adult patients, orthognathic surgery (or jaw surgery) is more often required because the jaws are not growing anymore in adults. Please refer to the "Surgical Orthodontics" page on our web site for more information.