Orthodontics for Children
It is best for children to be evaluated by age seven to determine whether orthodontic treatment is required and plan the best time for each patient to be treated, whether it is now, or sometime in the future.
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 jaws and as well as 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 (phase I) can simplify comprehensive treatment performed at a later time.
Orthodontics for Adults
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age and adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile. One of every five patients in orthodontic treatment is over 21.
Adults may have experienced some breakdown or loss of their teeth and bone that supports the teeth 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. Jaw surgery can also be more often required for adult orthodontic patients because their jaws are no longer growing. All of these factors are taken into account when planning adult orthodontic treatment.
What is surgical orthodontics?
Just as orthodontics repositions teeth, surgical orthodontics (orthognathic surgery) corrects jaw irregularities to improve the patients ability to chew, speak, and breathe and for improved facial appearances. In other words, surgical orthodontics straightens your jaws. Moving the jaws also moves the teeth, so braces are always performed in conjunction with jaw correction to ensure that the teeth are in their proper positions after surgery.
Who needs surgical orthodontics?
Surgical orthodontic treatment can be provided for non-growing adult patients with improper bites and those with aesthetic facial concerns. Jaw growth is usually completed by age 16-18 for girls and 18-21 for boys. All growth must be completed before jaw surgery can be performed.
How does it work?
During your pre-surgical orthodontic treatment, which usually lasts 12 to 18 months, you wear braces and will visit your orthodontist for scheduled adjustments. Teeth are moved in order to fit them into their proper positions following orthognathic surgery.
Surgery is performed in the hospital with an oral surgeon, and can take several hours, depending on the amount and type of surgery needed. Surgery may be performed on the upper jaw, the lower jaw, or in some cases, both. Both jaws have the capacity to be moved forward or backward, upward or downward, in varying degrees in order to position them into a more ideal relationship.
When you have completed surgery, you should be able to return to school or work within two weeks. After the necessary healing time, about 8 weeks, your orthodontist “fine-tunes” your bite. In most cases, braces are removed within 12 months following surgery. After your braces are removed, you will wear retainers to maintain your beautiful new smile.