Orthodontics for Children
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends seeing an orthodontist by age 7 to evaluate and select the best time to start treatment. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by that time and crossbites, crowding, and other problems can be evaluated. When treatment is begun early, the orthodontist can 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, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment.
Orthodontics for Adults
Orthodontics is for adults as well. Major dental problems can be present behind perfectly acceptable adult smiles. These problems, if left untreated, can jeopardize the health of teeth and gums, and may be detrimental to the health of the jaw joints as well.