Saturday, February 18, 2012

At What Age Can Orthodontic Treatment Begin? by Nick Messe

Teeth are an important part of functioning in this world. They are used not only for chewing and talking, but also for giving shape to a person's face. Straight teeth help give better shape to a person's mouth and face and eliminate uneven bites. There are many different opinions on when orthodontic treatment is the most helpful in straightening teeth.

A child should visit his or her regular dentist every six months. At these visits, the dentist will evaluate a child's teeth to determine how the teeth are shifting in the child's mouth. After most of the permanent teeth have come through, a dentist will be able to determine if braces are necessary. This can be as early as 11 years of age.

When a dentist refers a patient to an orthodontist, an initial consultation will be arranged. At this initial visit, the dentist will take many x-rays of the patient's mouth and measure the bones in the patient's hand. This measurement helps the orthodontist determine when the patient will reach his or her peak growth timeframe. The braces should be put on prior to this time of growth to obtain the maximum benefit of braces.

At each subsequent visit the braces will get tightened and new bands or brackets will be put onto the braces. There are a few different types of orthodontic treatment available. Traditional metal braces are an option available to people with uneven bites or crooked teeth. This type of braces can stain teeth so the wearer must be diligent about using the prescribed toothpaste and flossing daily.

Metal braces cost around $5,000. A popular new type is called Invisalign. Orthodontists who advertise Invisalign braces, offer them to people whose teeth problems are not as severe. These braces are more expensive than traditional metal braces but they are not as visible.

Invisalign braces are made of clear plastic and must be replaced every two weeks to provide maximum teeth movement. The average price of Invisalign is $6,000. Outfitting a child with braces is a wise decision that a child will thank his or her parent for when they are grown. They may not appreciate the braces when they are on their teeth but will be glad once they are adults.

Although the process of orthodontic treatment can be expensive and uncomfortable the results are worth the effort and money. Some famous people who have had braces include Cindy Crawford, Prince Harry, Gwen Stefani, and Tom Cruise. Depending on the severity of a child's crooked teeth or uneven bite, braces can be helpful as early as 11 years old. The many different types of braces can help a child obtain straight teeth that they will be proud of throughout his or her lifetime.