Q: What are orthodontic records and why are they necessary?
A: Orthodontic records usually include X-rays, photographs of the teeth and face, and models of the teeth. The records provide a wealth of information that is not always revealed by a visual examination. This may include missing teeth, extra teeth, abnormal root development, growth patterns of the jaws and face, asymmetry, tooth angulation and pathology. Complete records, in conjunction with the visual examination, form the basis for a thorough and accurate diagnosis and a sound treatment plan.
Q: Why is an early evaluation by age seven recommended?
A: An early evaluation can predict the need for preventive or interceptive care which can guide the jaws and erupting teeth into more favorable positions, improve the growth and alignment of the jaws, preserve space for the permanent teeth, and/or reduce the likelihood of fracturing protruded front teeth. Some orthodontic problems may be difficult to correct once growth of the jaws and muscles is complete.
Q: If my child has early treatment, will additional treatment be necessary?
A: In most cases, yes. After the permanent teeth have erupted, treatment is usually necessary to complete the work that was started in the earlier phase. The objective of continued treatment is to place the permanent teeth in positions of optimal function, esthetics, and long-term stability.
Q: Why is the adolescent growth spurt so important in orthodontics?
A: This is a time when much of the growth of the face occurs. Treatment during this period provides an opportunity to favorably influence the facial profile in a growing child. Once growth of the facial bones is complete, correction of jaw discrepancies usually requires surgery. For this reason, early treatment may save considerable time and money.
Q: When is an adult too old for braces?
A: For those who can benefit from orthodontics, age is not a factor. Adults who have teeth and healthy supporting structures are never too old. But because the facial bones of an adult are finished growing, some corrections may require more than braces alone. Adults currently account for over 25% of all orthodontic patients with the number on the rise of those taking advantage of the lifelong benefits. These are people who've made the choice to spend the rest of their lives with an attractive, healthy smile and the confidence that it brings.