Orthodontics is a specialty within dentistry that specializes in treating malocclusion or “bad bite.” Malocclusion describes a variety of conditions caused by crooked or improperly positioned teeth. In addition to being unattractive, malocclusion can cause problems with chewing and speech. Our orthodontist can treat a variety of issues with the latest technology.
When Should Someone See an Orthodontist?
Children should start seeing an orthodontist when they’re around seven years old. By that age, their adult teeth will have started to grow in, and the orthodontist will be able to spot developing problems.
Patients of any age should see an orthodontist for help with conditions like the following:
- Crooked teeth
- Crowded teeth
- Gaps between the teeth
- Impacted teeth
- Protruding teeth
What Is the Two-Phase Treatment?
The two-phase or two-step treatment is designed to take advantages of a child’s flexible jaw. That flexibility makes it easier to treat various conditions. For example, a child with an abnormally narrow palate would have to wear a palatal expander for a few months. An adult with the same problem would need jaw surgery to correct it.
The first phase of the treatment, which generally starts by the time the child is eight years old, concentrates on ensuring that the child’s jaws can accommodate all of their adult teeth. During this phase, the child may have to wear a palatal expander or some other orthodontic appliance.
After phase one is completed, there will be a resting period while the rest of the adult teeth emerge. Phase two will start when the patient is in their early teens and has all of their adult teeth except for their wisdom teeth. During phase two, the orthodontist will be concentrating on straightening the patient’s teeth. Phase two will thus involve braces.
Is There an Age Limit for Orthodontic Treatment?
It depends on the treatment. Some only work on children; others will work on adults as well. There’s even an orthodontic appliance used mainly on adult patients. It’s Invisalign®, and it’s basically a type of transparent, removable braces. Invisalign® consists of a pair of aligners or trays that the patient will wear over their upper and lower teeth. The patient can take the aligners out while eating or cleaning their teeth, but they should wear them for at least 22 hours per day. The aligners work by gradually nudging the teeth into their proper positions. The patient will change trays about every two weeks.
If you are interested in learning more about the orthodontic treatments offered at Petty, Bielik & Burke Orthodontics, P.C., pay one of our offices a visit to speak with our professionals. We are conveniently located in Oak Lawn and Frankfort, IL. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!