October is National Orthodontic Health month. It’s a great time to remind people why they should take their children to the orthodontist by the time they’re seven. It’s also a good time to let adults know that they, too, can receive orthodontic treatment.

Orthodontic Treatment for Children

People are often surprised to learn that it’s now common for children to receive orthodontic treatment. Children’s mouths often don’t have enough room to fit their new adult teeth, but by using Two-Phase Treatment, you can take advantage of a child’s growing jaws and bone structure to gently create more room for teeth to erupt and descend.

Two-Phase Treatment usually begins between ages 7-9. Your family dentist may notice that your child’s teeth are misaligned or that their adult teeth aren’t coming in due to crowding. The two-phase treatment creates a bit more space for your child’s teeth by using a palatal expander, which slowly and incrementally adds more space to his or her upper jawbone. Braces are then placed on the upper teeth for about a year. Now, your child’s natural growth will take over and even more room will be created for adult teeth as they grow. After they have lost all of their baby teeth (usually around the time they become teenagers), the next phase begins with braces on both the upper and lower teeth, if needed. In this stage, braces are only on for about 18 months, since your teen already received orthodontic care as a child.

Orthodontic Treatment for Teens

If your teen received the first part of the Two-Phase Treatment as a child, then they will return to the orthodontist to finish the second phase, which usually involves braces on upper and lower teeth for 18 months or less, depending on several factors.

If your teen didn’t need to receive Two-Phase Treatment, then they may still need traditional orthodontic treatment, which involves putting braces or customized aligners on the teeth. Although the amount of time varies, it takes approximately 18-24 months for treatment to straighten a teen’s teeth.

Orthodontic Treatment for Adults

Adults who discontinued orthodontic treatment as teens, or those who haven’t had treatment before, can still visit the orthodontist to find out how their bite problems can be corrected. Although adults are more likely to have previous dental treatment, such as implants, dental surgery, and crowns, there are several treatments available that can help give an adult an improved bite and smile!

If your child or teen requires orthodontic care, or you would like to straighten your teeth, give Dr. King’s office a call today. We’re located in downtown Pittsburgh and the North Hills for convenient access. We can set up a complimentary consultation and answer your questions, so be sure to contact us.