According to the American and Canadian Association of Orthodontists, the ideal age for initial orthodontic assessment is around age seven (at this age, the first permanent molars and lower incisors have usually come in and cross-bites, crowding, missing permanent teeth, and some other developmental problems can be detected).
We will determine if and when there is a need for orthodontic treatment and if any interceptive orthodontic care is required. When treatment is begun early, we can 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 possible need for permanent teeth extractions in some cases, reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, and correct thumb-sucking. In other words, early treatment can simplify later orthodontic treatment in some cases.
Age is not a limitation for orthodontic treatment. Healthy teeth can be moved at any age. Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age and adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile and functional bite. Jaw surgery is more often recommended in adult orthodontic patients because their jaws are no longer growing. Adults also may have experienced some breakdown or loss of their teeth and supporting bone so that they may require periodontal treatment before, during, and/or after orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic treatment in adults may take longer than in children because of the changes in bone biology and elasticity.
Just as orthodontics repositions teeth, surgical orthodontics (which includes orthognathic surgery) corrects jaw irregularities to improve a patient's ability to chew, speak, and improve facial appearance. Teeth are first aligned and set in the proper position in the arch with braces. Then, surgical corrections of the jaws are performed by an oral surgeon. Combining braces with surgical correction of the jaws helps make sure teeth are in their proper positions after surgery.
We will generally consider orthodontic treatment for non-growing adult patients with improper bites and those with facial aesthetic concerns. Jaw growth is usually completed around age 16-18 years for girls and 18-22 years for boys. As a general rule, growth must be completed before jaw surgery can be performed. The pre-surgical movements can begin one to two years prior to these ages.
When we remove your braces, we will begin the retention stage of your treatment. The retention phase lasts for a minimum of 24 months. Indefinate long-term nighttime wear is recommended to prevent lower front teeth irregularity which often occurs due to maturation or changes due to the natural aging process. Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainer wear, so follow through with the hard work you've put in.