Orthodontic Options for All Ages

It’s not unusual to immediately picture a teen in braces when the subject of orthodontics comes up, so it can come as a surprise to learn that orthodontic treatment can benefit children and adults, too. Here at Shaw Orthodontics, we believe that patients of all ages deserve a healthy smile that’s beautifully aligned, and are proud to provide excellent orthodontic care to families in Rockwall, Watauga, and the surrounding communities. Are you curious about what orthodontics could do for your child? Maybe you’ve wondered if your teen could benefit from braces? Have you considered using clear aligner therapy as an adult? If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about what orthodontics has to offer every age range, keep reading as we discuss all this, and more, below!

Orthodontics for children

There is no minimum age for a child to have their first orthodontic visit. However, the American Association of Orthodontists has recommended that all children have an initial orthodontic evaluation by the time they’re around seven years old. By the time a child reaches this age, most will have a good mix of primary and permanent teeth. A thorough examination at this stage gives an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Shaw the opportunity to catch any potential tooth and jaw problems early, before they have a chance become more serious.

When a child is brought into our office early enough to initiate what we call interceptive treatment, we’re often able to diagnose and correct oral issues before they become severe enough to require more invasive treatment. Interceptive treatment is essentially early treatment that can help:

  • correct and guide the growth of your child’s jaw so the permanent teeth erupt in better alignment
  • regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
  • create more space for crowded teeth
  • correct bad habits like extended thumb or finger sucking
  • help improve some minor speech problems

Because many orthodontic issues are visible only to the trained eye of an experienced orthodontist, it can be difficult to assess a child’s need for orthodontics by simply observing their outward appearance. Scheduling your child’s first visit at our Rockwall or Watauga office will give Dr. Shaw the chance to assess their teeth and jaws. If there is any indication that early treatment is needed, our team will work to create a customized plan that will address specific orthodontic issues your child is dealing with.

Although an orthodontic evaluation is the only way to know for sure if your child is in need of corrective treatment, there are a few things you can look out for that may benefit from orthodontic attention, including:

  • losing baby teeth very early or very late
  • any difficulties with biting or chewing food
  • mouth breathing
  • finger or thumb sucking
  • crowded or misplaced teeth
  • jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
  • teeth that come together abnormally, or don’t come together at all
  • jaws and teeth that aren’t proportionate to the rest of the face
  • crowded front teeth from around the age of seven or eight

Shaw Orthodontics offers a free initial consultation to all patients.

girl with school bag

Orthodontics for teens

Whether you know for certain that your teen needs corrective treatment, or merely suspect it,  it’s not unusual to feel a little nervous or apprehensive about it. Committing to orthodontic treatment is an important decision, and one that can be a little overwhelming for you and your teen both! However, our team will work with your family to provide an orthodontic experience that is as stress-free and rewarding as possible.

At Shaw Orthodontics, we have a number of fixed and removable orthodontic options to choose from. Today’s appliances are more comfortable and stylish than ever before! Even traditional metal braces come in a variety of styles and materials, and colored elastics let your teen customize their look to match their unique personality. For those who prefer a more discrete treatment option, we also clear braces, lingual braces, and Invisalign clear aligner therapy.

Because every case is difference and each patient responds to treatment in their own way, there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer as to how long a teen will be in braces. We can usually give a general estimate on treatment time, however, based on a few key factors.

Interceptive treatment — As we’ve mentioned, having your child seen by an orthodontist at around seven years old makes it easier to catch potential problems before they become more serious. By diagnosing and treating oral issues in the beginning stages, we can often cut down on the total time needed in braces, sometimes by a significant amount.

The issue being treated — Because each patient will react to treatment in their own way, the total orthodontic process will vary depending on how quickly a teen’s body responds, and how much work is actually needed to correct the issue.

Expected patient compliance — Teens play a major role in their treatment! By following our recommendations, taking good care of their braces or aligners, and maintaining a good dental hygiene routine, patients can help keep their treatment time to a minimum. Because compliance is essential to successful treatment, it’s important that your teen be responsible and reliable during the treatment process.

Orthodontics for adults

More adults than ever before are choosing to seek orthodontic treatment, with over 25% of current orthodontic patients over the age of 18. One of the most compelling reasons for adult orthodontics is that as we get older, we begin to realize how much oral health can impact our overall health. Many adults are finally in a place where they can afford the time and financial commitment to straighten their smile, and want to feel better about their appearance. Modern treatment options are also a factor in the uptick of adults seeking orthodontic treatment, as there are now several subtle but effective ways to straighten adult teeth, such as Invisalign and clear braces.

Young lady pointing to her braces

Creating beautiful smiles for patients of all ages in Rockwall and Watauga

Orthodontics can benefit almost anyone with oral issues, no matter their age! Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to keep clean with brushing and flossing, and treatment can also improve a patient’s cosmetic appearance, boosting their self-confidence. Perhaps most importantly of all, our treatment options can correct orthodontic issues before they get worse, creating long-term problems that can end up costing you more time and money.

Dr. Shaw knows that adults, teens, and children will all have different orthodontic needs that require individualized attention and treatment. Our expert team will work with you and your family to recommend only the most appropriate treatments for the best results possible! If you’re in Rockwall, Watauga, or the surrounding communities, get in touch with us today to find out how orthodontic treatment can benefit children, teens, and adults. We can create beautiful smiles for your whole family, so schedule your free consultation today!