TREATMENT OPTIONS

WHEN TO SEE AN ORTHODONTIST

Orthodontics Australia recommend children between the ages of 7-10 years visit a specialist orthodontist. A referral is NOT required from a dentist or other healthcare provider.

It’s natural for a child to want to have a beautiful smile as soon as possible. However, there is no ‘best’ age to undergo orthodontic treatment, it varies from child to child depending on the issue being treated.

However, early orthodontic evaluation is always a good idea. It enables the orthodontist to check if there are any problems present and discuss the best course of action to put you and your child’s mind at ease.

SIGNS A CHILD NEEDS EARLY ORTHODONTIC EVALUATION

Although every child can benefit from an orthodontic evaluation there are a number of signs listed below that indicate a child should visit an orthodontist.

  • Early loss of baby teeth due to decay or trauma
  • Late loss of baby teeth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Mouth breathing and/or snoring
  • Teeth that don’t meet properly when a child bites together (e.g. underbite, overbite, crossbite, openbite)
  • Difficulties when biting or chewing
  • Oral habits such as thumbsucking
  • Speech difficulties
  • Family history of orthodontic problems especially missing or impacted teeth
  • Jaws that shift when a child opens or closes the mouth

CHILDREN

Early treatment is often referred to as ‘phase one’ and usually will be followed by further comprehensive treatment when a child is older. Appropriate orthodontic appliances at an early age can assist to make space in the mouth for the remaining adult teeth to come down in the correct place.

Early treatment may help with the physical and emotional trauma that may result from poorly positioned front teeth.

TEENS

Most comprehensive orthodontic treatments are undertaken during the teenage years. However, it is important not to wait to the teens for an initial assessment. Similarly, it is important not to wait until all adult teeth have erupted into the mouth to seek orthodontic assessment. The earlier we can assess the patient, the best likelihood that treatment will be carried out at the optimum time for the patient.

Ceramic (clear) braces, lingual (inside) braces or clear aligners (such as Invisalign) may be appropriate for some patients.

ADULTS

Many adults undergo orthodontic treatment. There are many orthodontic treatments that are aimed specifically for adult patients. There is no “too old” for orthodontic treatment.

In addition to improving the appearance of your smile, there are many benefits from orthodontic treatment. Patients often report psychological benefits with a boost in self-confidence. Straight teeth can make them function better and easier to clean thus reducing the risks of tooth decay and gum problems.

Thanks to modern technology, orthodontic treatment is an option for most adults. Some adults may find the thought of traditional braces unappealing and have concerns that wearing braces may have undesirable impact on their lives like being more self-conscious. There are a number of discreet options available like ceramic (clear) braces, lingual braces (on the inside of the teeth) and clear aligners (such as Invisalign) which may be appropriate.

Not all orthodontists are experienced in treatment with lingual braces but Dr Hettige is a highly experienced orthodontist who has been treating with lingual braces for many years. Dr Hettige is also an accredited Invisalign orthodontist.