The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic evaluation between 7-9 years old. At this time, children have developed their first permanent molars and their anterior teeth have erupted. An orthodontist can identify any orthodontic issues that may be developing and treat them as needed. If there are no issues, the orthodontist can monitor the growth/development of the teeth and jaws.
Early treatment outcomes can be dramatic and significant. It is important to understand that early treatment is done for very limited objectives. At a later date, an orthodontist will re-evaluate the mouth when all permanent teeth are present. At that point, complete orthodontic treatment may or may not be necessary. It is important to discuss with an orthodontist early treatment options, objectives and possible outcomes.
Directing jaw growth and development.
Maintaining space for permanent teeth.
Guiding permanent teeth into better positions.
Avoiding extractions of permanent teeth.
Avoiding impaction of permanent teeth.
Reducing/eliminating the need for jaw surgeries.
According to most recent surveys, 30% of all orthodontic patients are 18 years or older. This number has been rising over the past years due to patient education and treatment acceptance. In our practice, we see closer to 40% of our patients being in this age range. Adult and adolescent treatment is very similar. The goal of treatment is to achieve an ideal bite for function and to place the teeth in a healthy alignment for proper oral hygiene. The result is a beautiful smile that is both functional and healthy.
Orthodontic treatment options include conventional orthodontics, Invisalign, and retainer therapies. Conventional orthodontics has changed significantly over the past few years. Materials and procedures have optimized treatment time, oral hygiene considerations, patient discomfort, aesthetics and treatment outcomes.
Our office offers the best in orthodontic appliances which include clear, gold, and silver brackets. Invisalign techniques use clear plastic trays which align the teeth incrementally. Trays are worn for a prescribed time and changed at specific intervals. Retainer therapy is useful when only a few teeth need to be moved short distances. Dr. Hedrick will review and explain all possible treatment options which will be individually formulated for ideal outcomes for each patient.