What is the first thing you think of when we talk about orthodontics? Thanks to popular culture, it is probably an image of teens in awkward, obvious metal braces. This stereotype is so prevalent that it can be surprising to learn that orthodontics offers a whole lot more than just braces, and the benefits are not limited to tweens and teens. Leaver & Gardner Orthodontics believe that every child, teen, and adult deserves a beautifully aligned and fully functional smile, and we are proud to provide the highest quality orthodontic care to Las Vegas patients of all ages. Are you looking for information on early treatment for your child? Do you suspect your teen may need braces or Teen Invisalign to straighten their smile? Are you
Thinking about clear aligners for yourself? Whatever the reason, keep reading to find out more about orthodontics for all ages!
Orthodontics for children
Though we do not have a minimum age when it comes to our youngest patients, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends children receive their first orthodontic evaluation by around age seven. By this point, most kids will have a good mix of primary and permanent teeth. A thorough examination by experienced orthodontists like Dr. Leaver and Dr. Gardner can catch any potential issues with the teeth and jaws early, allowing us to diagnose and correct them before they have the chance to turn into something more serious.
If our doctors feel that any type of early treatment is indicated, we can create a customized plan addressing those particular dental problems. You may sometimes hear us refer to this as interceptive treatment. This kind of treatment gives us the chance to:
- correct and guide the growth of a child’s jaw, in order to help the permanent teeth come in straight
- regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
- create more space for any crowded teeth
- correct harmful oral habits, such as thumb or finger sucking
- help improve any minor speech problems
Orthodontists are trained to see things that we do not, or cannot, by simply observing our children. A need for orthodontic treatment could be overlooked if you are going by outward appearances only. However, there are a few things you can keep an eye out for that could indicate a visit with the orthodontist is warranted for your child. This includes:
- baby teeth that are lost either much earlier or much later than normal
- a noticeably difficult time with biting or chewing food
- mouth breathing
- finger or thumb sucking, particularly if it is prolonged
- crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
- jaws that pop or make other sounds when they open and close
- teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
- jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
- crowded front teeth past the age of seven or eight
Orthodontics for teens
Parents of teens who are about to set out on their orthodontic journey often have a laundry list of questions and concerns about the time, cost, and effort involved. Making a commitment to straightening your teen’s smile with braces or Invisalign can be overwhelming! But rest assured, our team is compassionate and understanding, and we will do all we can to set your mind at ease.
For teens who may be worried about what to expect with orthodontic treatment, there are more options available now than ever before. The metal braces of today are more subtle and much more comfortable, and your teen even has the choice of picking from a variety of styles, materials, and colors to better show off their personality! For those who prefer a more discreet look, we also offer clear aligner therapy with Invisalign, Damon clear braces, and lingual braces.
For most teens and parents alike, the biggest question mark is how long it will take to get a straight smile. Unfortunately, there is no concrete answer to that, because every patient has different needs and goals. However, we are often able to estimate the amount of time it will take to treat your teen. This estimate tends to be based on a few key factors.
Early treatment — We put a lot of emphasis on seeing your child by seven years old because of the opportunity it gives us to catch potential problems before they can become a much bigger deal. Early diagnosis and treatment allows our doctors to monitor the growth of the jaw and teeth, and recommend further orthodontic treatment as and when needed, if necessary. By treating any oral issues in their beginning stages, we are often able to cut down on the total time needed in braces or aligners later.
What it is that needs correcting — Each patient responds to treatment in their own way. Treatment time for your teen will depend on how their body react to it, as well as how much work will be necessary to correct their oral issue. What takes one patient a matter of months to correct could take another patient a year or two, or even longer. The amount of treatment needed to fully correct a problem determines how long the process itself will take.
Patient compliance — When teens are careful to follow the recommendation and instructions they are given on how to care for their mouths and their brace, they can help keep their treatment time to a minimum. This kind of compliance is the key to your teen completing their treatment as quickly as possible, so it is important that you encourage them to be responsible with their braces or aligners.
Orthodontics for adults
A we get older, we often come into the understanding of how important our oral health can be, especially once we realize all the many way it can impact our overall health. Not only that, but as adults, we are generally in a place where we are able to afford both the time and the financial commitment necessary to straighten our smile, and are finally ready to take the plunge towards feeling better about their appearance. Better options are another factor in more adults seeking orthodontic treatment now, since there are many discreet but effective ways to straighten adult smiles, such as Damon clear braces and clear aligner systems like Invisalign.
In adult patients seeking orthodontic treatment, we will generally tend to see issues like:
- a bad bite, or malocclusion, causing teeth to fit together incorrectly
- teeth that are too crowded
- teeth spaced too far apart
- abnormal jaw pain
- abnormal pressure
Do any of these sound familiar to you? If so, adult orthodontic treatment with Leaver & Gardner Orthodontics could be just the ticket to better oral health and a more beautiful smile!
Creating beautiful smiles all over Las Vegas with Leaver & Gardner Orthodontics
It is clear that whatever your age, orthodontics can be beneficial. Orthodontic treatment can give you the smile you have always wanted, boosting your self-confidence. And aside from appearances, when the teeth are properly aligned, they are easier to clean with flossing and brushing, which lowers the risk for developing gum disease and other oral health problems. Perhaps most importantly, untreated dental issues almost always get worse over time, leading to serious, long-term problems that could end up costing you more pain, frustration, time, and money in the end.
Here at Leaver & Gardner Orthodontics, we fully recognize that children, teens, and adults will have different orthodontic needs based on their age and stages of development. We have a highly skilled staff who work hard every day to provide the appropriate level of attention and care for each patient. We have been delivering top-notch orthodontic care from our two conveniently based Las Vegas offices for many years, and our goal is to continue to treat every patient with understanding, compassion, and respect. We are always on top of the new technology and treatments available in orthodontics, and believe that we should always be learning more in order to best serve our patients – like you!
If you are in the Las Vegas or surrounding area, and are ready to explore what orthodontic treatment can offer you or your family, get in touch with us today to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Leaver or Dr. Gardner. We cannot wait to make your smile great!