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At What Age Should I Start Orthodontic Treatment?

While most people know that routine dental care should begin during a child’s toddler years, others are unsure when it comes to orthodontic treatment. The ideal age for an orthodontic evaluation is typically between 8 to 10 years.

Although treatment may not begin for several years after that (1 to 5 years), an initial evaluation is helpful to determine whether there are any early problems with the teeth and jaw which could be corrected through early interceptive treatment.

Orthodontics During Teenage Years

The teenage years are a time of personal and physical growth.  As a teenager’s bones and jaw are actively growing during this period, it’s an ideal time to commence treatment guiding the bite into proper alignment and to straighten teeth as necessary. Teenagers have typically lost all of their primary (baby) teeth, with most of their adult teeth having erupted.

Starting orthodontic treatment after all of the primary teeth are gone tends to keep the treatment length as short as possible. This is because the orthodontist can use the body’s growth to their advantage while the child is going through puberty. A shorter treatment period reduces the possibility of adverse consequences that accompany extended orthodontic treatments (white spot lesions, puffy gums, root resorption, etc.)

What If Baby Teeth Are Still There?

Dr Peter Vaughan prefers to wait until all of the primary teeth are gone, but there are times when it’s appropriate to begin treatment earlier. One example is if the child has an impacted or blocked out tooth (crowding). Sometimes a baby tooth will not be lost because the underlying tooth doesn’t have enough room to come in.

In these cases, our orthodontic team will begin treatment with the associated baby tooth in place. Making room for the underlying tooth can help loosen the baby tooth. If not, we may have it removed by the family dentist.

Alternatives to Traditional Braces

Alternatives like Invisalign, functional appliances and plates can be used depending on the case. Invisalign are removable, custom-made invisible aligners which are popular for patients who are conscious about their appearance. Invisalign can offer an improvement but will not position the teeth as well as braces do.

Similarly, plates and functional appliances can often be more difficult for patients than braces and while they can correct growth discrepancies, they are also poor at aligning teeth. It is best to book a consultation with an experienced orthodontist to determine the best course of action and whether these alternatives are appropriate for the required treatment.

Orthodontist in Newcastle

If you would like more information or require orthodontic treatment in Newcastle for you or your family, get in touch with our friendly team. We’ll discuss treatment options and address any questions or concerns you may have so we can offer the best possible dental services. Call 02 4956 2020 or schedule an appointment online.