The team at NDS Orthodontics offers treatment plans for children, adolescents and adults.
When is the best time to begin orthodontics?
The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that a child’s initial orthodontic evaluation occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. This age is the optimal time for screenings because the first adult molars have erupted, establishing the back bite, and the orthodontist can evaluate the front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships and positions. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles.
At the age of 7, while orthodontic treatment may not be immediately necessary, a thorough examination provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. An orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin comprehensive treatment when it is best for the patient.
What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?
Interceptive treatment is designed to intercept, and reduce, a developing problem that if not treated could lead to a serious dental or orthodontic issue later in a child’s life. Examples include correcting a thumb-sucking habit or guiding growth of permanent teeth. Some of the most direct results of interceptive orthodontic treatment are:
- Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
- Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
- Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- Preserving space for non-erupted teeth
- Reducing the need for tooth extraction
- Reducing treatment time with braces
Does my child need orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment not only straightens teeth and improves the aesthetics of a patient’s smile, but also improves bad bites referred to as malocclusions. Malocclusions are the result of tooth or jaw misalignment, and negatively affect the way your child smiles, chews, brushes his or her teeth, or feels about his or her smile. Studies by the AAO indicate that untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems:
- Tooth decay and/or gum disease, as crowded teeth are difficult to properly brush and floss.
- Accidental chipping, as protruding teeth are more susceptible.
- Unfavorable tooth growth or tooth wear, caused by a crossbite.
- The development of a tongue-thrusting habit or speech impediment, caused by an openbite.
Spotting a malocclusion is not easy for a parent, as the problem is usually not obvious to the untrained eye. Because of this, we recommend that an orthodontic professional evaluate your child’s possible treatment needs.
Is it too late for me to receive orthodontic treatment?
No matter your age, it is never too late to receive orthodontic treatment and finally achieve that perfect smile. At NDS Orthodontics, we see patients of all ages investing in their health and future with orthodontic treatment.
What options are available to me as an adult patient?
Adult patients have many options aside from the big, bulky metal braces of the past. Options include invisible braces and aligners, like Invisalign, which are nearly undetectable. These options allow for potentially shorter treatment plans and fewer office visits.
The traditional stainless steel braces of the past are not the norm at NDS Orthodontics. Dr. Gajda uses the latest high-tech, self-ligating brackets, which do not require steel or elastic ties to hold the archwires in place. This means less tenderness of a patient’s teeth–and potentially faster movement than was previously possible. So even though a NDS patient’s braces may look like the old stainless steel braces, our metal braces are on the forefront of advanced orthodontic treatments available today.
Many of our adult patients, and even some of our younger patients, prefer clear braces, which are less visible, tooth-colored ceramic braces. These state-of-the-art ceramic brackets incorporate some of the advantages of self-ligating technology, like our metal braces. Because there are no elastic ties that can stain, the braces blend in with your teeth and, while not invisible, they are far less noticeable than metal braces.
Dr. Gajda is both certified in and a preferred provider of Invisalign—a new tooth straightening system using clear aligners. When a patient is a good candidate for treatment using Invisalign, a series of clear orthodontic trays, similar to bleaching trays, are fabricated using computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM). The finished appliance is worn for 2 weeks at a time.
Why opt for Invisalign? Here are several of the advantages over traditional metal or ceramic braces:
- Cosmetics: Clear aligners are nearly invisible and certainly far less noticeable than braces.
- Comfort: The aligners do not have the rough edges that braces do and tend not to aggravate a patient’s lips and cheeks.
- Hygiene: Because aligners are removable, proper teeth cleaning is easier to maintain.
- Convenience: During an Invisalign treatment, appointments tend to be less frequent and shorter in duration.
While there are significant advantages to Invisalign, there are some limitations with the treatment. Talk to Dr. Gajda at NDS Orthodontics to determine if this option is right for you.