Your dentist may have discussed with you the benefits of having healthy teeth and proper jaw alignment. Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. This can result in tooth decay, gum disease and lead to tooth loss. Other orthodontic problems can contribute to abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, inefficient chewing function, excessive stress on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth, or misalignment of the jaw joints. Treatment by an orthodontist can be less costly than the additional care required to treat dental problems arising as a result of orthodontic problems. For most people, a beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontics. After your braces come off, you’ll feel more self-confident.

Any orthodontic problem can be treated at any age. However, it is important to understand that the need to extract (remove) teeth, the amount of treatment time, the cost of treatment, the complexity of treatment required is very much determined by the AGE of the patient. This is why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7.

Children who aren’t ready for braces will benefit from an early evaluation by having their growth and development monitored by a licensed orthodontic specialist at no charge. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by age 7 and crossbites, crowding, and other problems can be evaluated. When treatment is begun early, the orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaw and guide incoming permanent teeth. Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment.

Adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile. One of every four patients in orthodontic treatment is over 21. Today’s less noticeable braces have contributed to this increase in popularity. Adults of all ages can fully appreciate the return on an orthodontic investment, a beautiful smile, improved self-confidence and better dental health. Regardless of age, a spectacular smile, improved dental health, improved facial esthetics and a boost to self esteem should be the goal of everyone seeking orthodontic treatment. Age should not be a factor in seeking treatment and achieving these goals. These benefits are available to anyone—young or old.

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