Orthodontists, otherwise known as braces doctors, receive an additional 2-3 years of specialized education and training beyond dental school to learn the proper way to diagnose, straighten teeth and align jaws. Only those with this highly specialized education can call themselves orthodontists.
When is the right time for an orthodontic consultation? The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a consultation with an orthodontist no later than age seven. Orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging permanent teeth while some baby teeth are still present. Early treatment may prevent more serious problems from developing and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. Waiting until all the permanent teeth are present can be too late.
The orthodontist can achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing and might identify a developing problem, but could recommend monitoring the child's growth and development, and when indicated, begin treatment at the appropriate time with the appropriate appliances.
There are many options available today that were not available before. These are not the old style of braces or those of your parents and yesteryear no need for headgears or elastics.
Extractions and expanders are not used often. Damon self-ligating braces shorten treatment times, are more comfortable and smaller and decrease monthly visits. Patient-specific brackets, computer-assisted, precision bracket placement and custom wires can eliminate time-consuming adjustments.
Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADS) or mini implant screws are used to achieve results without the need for jaw surgery. Clear aligners are not braces at all, but a series of removable aligners that “push” the teeth to better positions.
Lingual braces go behind the teeth, and clear, or invisible, braces are great options for those adults who don't like the look of braces. Minor gum laser procedures can “reshape” your smile line, remove excess gum tissue and uncover slow emerging teeth to help achieve a beautiful smile much sooner thus shortening treatment times. Imagine high school without braces.
Today's braces can give anyone, from age six and older, a healthy, beautiful, stable smile. As orthodontists, with our expertise, we help adults, teens and children attain properly straightened teeth, aligned jaws and maintain good dental and overall health. You are never too young or old for straight teeth.