Chronological age is not a factor when deciding whether a patient is a candidate for orthodontic treatment; there is not one ideal age for treatment to begin. Healthy teeth can be moved at any age. Regardless of age, patients can look forward to teeth that not only look better, but work better, too.
Dr Maroszek recommends that all children should get a check-up with an orthodontist at the first recognition of the existence of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age 7. Few patients will need to begin treatment that young but there are some who will benefit from early intervention. For these patients, treatment is likely to consist of guiding the growth of the jaws so that the permanent teeth are in good positions as they come in.
A check-up while some baby teeth are still present, while the face and jaws are growing, may reveal that immediate treatment is unnecessary with possible benefits being obtained from treatment at a later stage. In these cases, the patient visits the orthodontist periodically to monitor growth and development. This “watchful waiting” gives the orthodontist the opportunity to advise parents when the best time is for that child to begin treatment. Often the orthodontist is able to take advantage of predictable periods of a patient’s growth and intervene so that orthodontic treatment can have the best results possible. There are some things that cannot be accomplished once the face and jaws are no longer growing.
Still, orthodontic treatment can be highly successful in adults. The physiological process of moving teeth is the same in adults as it is in children. Adult orthodontic treatment may take a little longer than children’s treatment due to denser bone tissue in adults. A new smile can be especially profound for adults who have spent years hiding their teeth.