Orthodontics for Children

While there is no exact age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends visiting the orthodontist around age seven.

By this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, making it possible for your orthodontist to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems sooner and without surgery.

Early treatment allows your orthodontist to:

  • Correct and guide the growth of your child’s jaw to help the permanent teeth come in straight
  • Regulate the width of the upper and lower arches
  • Create more space for crowded teeth
  • Avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
  • Correct thumb-sucking and help improve minor speech problems

While some orthodontic problems are obvious, others are harder to spot without a professional examination.

Parents should look for the following signs that their child needs to see an orthodontist:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • A hard time chewing or biting 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 around age seven or eight

If your child is over the age of seven and has not seen an orthodontist or you recognize any of the warning signs above, contact West Orthodontics to schedule an appointment for an orthodontic evaluation. Early treatment now will give your child a healthy, beautiful smile for the future.


Orthodontics for Teens

Braces, retainers, and everything else that you want to know about orthodontics!

Are braces as scary as they seem?

No! Braces have evolved tremendously and today there is a wide range of variety when it comes to styles, materials, and colors. Today, life with braces much easier, more comfortable, and more stylish than it has ever been.

How long will I have to wear braces?

The amount of time it takes to reach your perfect smile with braces depends on three key factors:

  • Early treatment — Early treatment allows orthodontists to monitor the growth of the jaw and recommend further orthodontic treatment if it becomes necessary. While not everybody needs early treatment, eligible patients will find that early treatment reduces total treatment time, reduces the need for extractions, and reduces the possibility of painful orthodontic surgery in the future.
  • What needs correction — The severity of the orthodontic problem will determine how long the correction process takes. Also, body response time to treatment will vary by patient, so while it may take one patient only 12 months to complete their treatment, it may take another patient 24 months.
  • YOU! — Your compliance with your orthodontist’s instructions when it comes to wearing your appliance and following oral hygiene routines will determine how long your treatment lasts. Always remember to take care of your braces and appliances; this truly will help make your treatment time shorter!

Braces Your Way!

Since we know each patient’s needs are unique, our practice offers a variety of braces, types, and styles to choose from. Some common options include:

  • Ceramic braces
  • Invisible braces
  • Lingual braces
  • Traditional metal braces

What can I eat while wearing braces?

As mentioned above, complying with your orthodontist’s instructions will optimize your treatment time and results. Below is a list of foods you should avoid and a list of foods you can enjoy while wearing braces. It is important to avoid any foods that can get stuck between your braces or that can damage your appliance in any way.

Foods to avoid while wearing braces:

  • Chewy foods — bagels, licorice
  • Crunchy foods — popcorn, chips, ice
  • Sticky foods — caramel candies, chewing gum
  • Hard foods — nuts, hard candies
  • Foods that require biting into — corn on the cob, apples, carrots

Foods you CAN eat while wearing braces:

  • Dairy — soft cheese, pudding, milk-based drinks
  • Breads — soft tortillas, pancakes, muffins without nuts
  • Grains — pasta, soft cooked rice
  • Meats/poultry — soft cooked chicken, meatballs, lunch meats
  • Seafood — tuna, salmon, crab cakes
  • Vegetables — mashed potatoes, steamed spinach, beans
  • Fruits — applesauce, bananas, fruit juice
  • Treats — ice cream without nuts, milkshakes, Jell-O, soft cake

Braces can change your life in a very positive way, by transforming your smile you will gain confidence and improve your oral health. Please contact our practice to schedule your next orthodontic checkup.


Orthodontics for Adults

Orthodontic treatment is not just for teens. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists cites that one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21. You can take an important step toward improved health, a higher level of self-confidence, and an improved appearance by beginning your orthodontic treatment journey today!

Common reasons adults are considering orthodontic treatment:

  • A bad bite or malocclusion, causing teeth to fit together incorrectly
  • Teeth are crowded or spaced apart, possibly causing tooth decay or gum disease
  • Abnormal jaw pain, or pressure that is caused by crooked teeth
  • Desire for a healthier mouth and a more confident smile

Treatment options for adults

Many adults find it unappealing to sport traditional metal braces. Luckily, today there are orthodontic treatment options to choose from ranging from traditional metal braces to more aesthetic options like clear braces. Types of braces include:

  • Clear braces
  • Ceramic braces
  • Self-ligating braces
  • Lingual (behind the tooth) braces
  • Invisible braces
  • Traditional metal braces

The difference between adult orthodontics and orthodontics for children and teens:

The main difference to remember when treating adults versus children and teens is that younger patient’s jawbones are still developing. In adults, jawbones have stopped growing, which can lead to orthognathic surgery if the jawbones need to be aligned. Other differences include:

  • Gum or bone loss (periodontal disease) — — Adults are more likely than children to suffer from gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease which can lead to gum recession and bone loss. Patients with straighter teeth are less likely to get gum disease which is another reason to encourage adults to undergo orthodontic treatment.
  • Worn or missing teeth — Over time, teeth can become worn down and shift into different positions that can only be corrected with orthodontic care. Missing teeth can cause other teeth to shift and tilt, creating a bad bite and increasing the possibility of gum disease.
  • Incomplete orthodontic treatment as a teen — Many adults began orthodontic treatment as a child or teen but never completed their treatment. As an adult, they choose to complete their orthodontic treatment to finish the uncompleted goal of a healthy, beautiful smile.

At West Orthodontics, we are aware that adults, teens, and children all have different needs. In our practice, we work hard to differentiate our service to meet your unique needs not only as an adult but as an individual.

Why should you consider orthodontic treatment?

  • Straight teeth are healthy teeth — Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to keep clean with and therefore less likely to build-up bacteria and plaque which can lead to more serious problems.
  • A beautiful, straight smile builds confidence — Orthodontic treatment can help you achieve the smile you’ll be proud to show off. Your newfound confidence will expand your opportunities in both your professional and personal life.
  • Mouths left untreated can get worse — Not receiving orthodontic treatment when it’s needed can create long-term health issues costing you more in the end.

To learn more about the benefits of adult orthodontics, please contact our practice to schedule an appointment. We understand that you have a busy life, and we will work with you to make sure each office visit is as convenient as possible, just let us know what days and times work best for you when scheduling.