September 28, 2018
When you think of orthodontics, what’s the first image that comes to mind? Chances are it involves a gawky teenager and painfully obvious braces. Even though modern orthodontics has made enormous strides in recent years, this outdated stereotype persists! It may come as a surprise to learn that not only is orthodontic treatment more flexible, affordable, and customizable than ever before, it is also available to children, teens, and adults alike. Here at Central Virginia Orthodontics, we believe everyone deserves a beautifully aligned, fully functional smile whether they are 7, 70, or anywhere in between! We’re proud to provide quality orthodontic care to patients of all ages in Lynchburg and the surrounding communities. Whether you’re curious about what early treatment for your child would look like, how braces could benefit your teen, if Invisalign could work for you as an adult, or any combination of the above, keep reading below to learn more about the options available for every age range!
Orthodontics for children
There’s no minimum age for a child to have their first orthodontic visit, but the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an initial orthodontic evaluation by the time they are about seven years old. By this time, most children will have a good mix of primary and permanent teeth, and a thorough examination gives orthodontists the chance to catch tooth and jaw problems early. This means issues are often diagnosed and corrected before they become severe enough to require more invasive treatment.
When you schedule your child’s first visit with us at Central Virginia Orthodontics, Dr. Baugher or Dr. Claiborne will assess their teeth and jaws. If they believe there is a need for early treatment, our team will work to create a customized plan that will address the specific dental problems your child is dealing with. This is sometimes referred to as interceptive treatment, and by providing it, we are able to:
- correct and guide the growth of your child’s jaw to help the permanent teeth come in better aligned
- 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 for you to assess your child’s need for orthodontics by simply observing their outward appearance alone. There are, however, a few things to be aware of that could indicate the need for orthodontic attention, including:
- the early or late loss of baby teeth
- difficulties biting or chewing food
- mouth breathing
- finger or thumb sucking
- crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
- jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
- 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 from around the age of seven or eight
The first step in any early treatment is scheduling an appointment for your child’s first orthodontic evaluation. Central Virginia Orthodontics is happy to offer a free initial consultation to all patients.
Orthodontics for teens
If you know that your teen is in need of corrective orthodontic treatment, or merely suspect it, you’re likely to have a number of questions and concerns. You and your teen may both be feeling nervous or apprehensive, wondering what to expect. We understand that it can be a little overwhelming when you commit to orthodontic treatment for your teen, and will do all we can to set both your minds at ease!
Central Virginia Orthodontics have a number of orthodontic appliances to choose from, both fixed and removable.Today’s treatment options are more comfortable and stylish than ever before, and even traditional metal braces are available in a variety of styles, materials, and colors to match your teen’s personality and lifestyle. For those who prefer a more discreet treatment option, we also offer Invisalign clear aligner therapy, as well as clear braces.
The biggest question most teens have is “how long will I be in braces?” Because every case varies and every patient responds to treatment differently, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question. However, we’re usually able to give a general estimate on treatment time, based on a few key factors.
Early (interceptive) treatment — As we discussed above, having your child seen by an orthodontist by about seven years old makes it easier to catch potential problems before they have a chance to 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 significantly.
The orthodontic issue being treated — Because each patient will react to treatment in their own way, the time spent on the orthodontic process will vary depending on how quickly a teen’s body responds, and how much work is actually needed to correct the issue.
Patient compliance — Your teen will play a major role in their own treatment! By following our doctors’ recommendations, taking good care of their orthodontic appliance, and maintaining an excellent dental hygiene routine, patients can help keep their treatment time to a minimum. Compliance is critical to completing their treatment as quickly as possible, so it’s imperative that teens be responsible and reliable during the orthodontic process.
Orthodontics for adults
Many adults are now choosing to seek orthodontic treatment later in life, with around 1 in 4 current orthodontic patients over the age of 18. This can be chalked up to any number of things. As we age, we often begin to realize how important it is to maintain our oral health, because of how it can affect our overall health. Some are finally able to afford the time and financial commitment to straighten their smile, and want to feel better about their appearance. Better treatment options are also a factor, with several subtle but effective ways to straighten adult teeth now available, including Invisalign and clear braces. Whatever the reason for choosing orthodontic treatment as an adult, we offer several options to achieve an aligned, healthy, and beautifully straight smile!
Central Virginia Orthodontics create beautiful smiles for patients of all ages
Orthodontics can be beneficial to almost anyone suffering from oral issues, whatever their age. Properly aligned teeth are easier to clean with brushing and flossing, which can help prevent dental problems from developing. Orthodontic treatment can improve a patient’s cosmetic appearance, boost their self-confidence and result in a lasting smile they’ll want to share with the world! Perhaps most importantly of all, treatment can correct orthodontic issues before they get worse, creating long-term problems that can cost you more time and money in the long run.
Here at Central Virginia Orthodontics, we recognize that adults, teens, and children have different orthodontic needs, and will require individualized attention and treatment. Dr. Baugher and Dr. Claiborne are both highly educated, experienced, and skilled orthodontists who are able to provide this kind of care seamlessly. Our entire team will work with you and your family to ensure we recommend only the most appropriate treatments, and are committed to giving you the best orthodontic experience possible.
If you’re in Central Virginia and want to know more about what orthodontic treatment has to offer you and your family, get in touch with us today to schedule a free exam with one of our doctors. We’ve got what it takes to create beautiful smiles that will last a lifetime for your whole family!