If you are looking for orthodontic treatment for your teeth, get it started right away. Because the sooner it is, the better it is. An important consideration in orthodontic diagnosis and treatment planning is the age of the patient. In addition, age factors influence the treatment mechanics and outcome of the treatment.
There are some types of malocclusion which are considered normal in a child and need no treatment as they get corrected automatically as the age advances. For example, over bite, spacing and divergent front teeth.
Treatment and age
Orthodontic appliances are most effective during growing age. Most orthodontists believe in the concept of ‘catch them young’. Getting treatment at an early age when dento-facial growth is active has numerous benefits:-
- There is a scope of Growth modification: Misalignment of teeth that occurs as a result of altered growth direction and amount can be diverted. These procedures that modify growth should be initiated at an early age before the body growth ceases.
- There is a scope of prevention: One of the advantages that early treatment offers is the possibility of preventing or stopping misalignment of teeth. Even if the malocclusion cannot be totally eliminated, its severity can be reduced so that complex orthodontic treatment involving extraction of teeth and surgery can be minimized.
- Harnessing natural growth forces: The human dentition has a natural tendency to move in a particular direction. These natural tendencies can be used to guide the emergence of teeth to more favourable positions.
- Minimize psychological distress: Treatment carried out at an early age, avoid psychological disturbances as a result of coping with a severely misaligned teeth.
- Role of growth: Orthodontic treatment carried out during adolescence or still later in adults cannot make use of the growth potential. Although working with growth potential has numerous advantages as enlisted earlier, certain malocclusions are best treated after growth completion. More bony malocclusions indicated for orthognathic surgery are to be treated after growth completion so as to avoid recurrent growth changes associated with continuation of abnormal growth pattern.
- Limited treatment options: In a growing patient, the orthodontist has a number of options in his armamentarium that include growth modulation, guidance of emergence of teeth, use of natural forces etc, however in an adult patient the treatment options are limited to moving teeth and surgery.
- Compromise of treatment objectives: In an adult patient in whom growth has ceased, it may not be possible to achieve all the objectives of function, esthetics and stability that represent ideal dentition and bite. In many adult patients compromises might have to be made in the treatment. While setting treatment objectives for adult patients, doctor would set goals that are realistic, attainable and which strike the best possible balance in function, esthetics and treatment stability.
So, pick your phone, book an appointment and visit your dentist to know your right age to get the orthodontic treatment to have straight teeth and lovely smile!