Brothers smiling for a photo

Orthodontic Options for All Ages

Posted on May 21, 2018 by Dr. Damon Szymanowski.

Tweens and teens tend to come to mind immediately when we talk about braces and orthodontic treatment, but orthodontics can benefit younger children and adults as well, which often comes as a surprise to some parents and patients! Here at Szymanowski Orthodontics, we offer the kind of quality orthodontic care that can achieve a beautifully aligned, fully functioning smile. We have devised this guide to orthodontics to make sure your curiosity is covered whether you are interested in learning about early treatment for your child, braces for your teen, or orthodontics for you as an adult.

Orthodontics for Children

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends visiting the orthodontist around age seven. By this age it easier for an orthodontist to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems sooner and without surgery because most children still have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth. Early treatment allows your orthodontist to:

  • 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
  • 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

Here are a few things to look for that may mean your child needs to see an orthodontist, because we know that for parents, it is not always easy to know if your child may need orthodontic treatment:

  • 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
  • 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

Early treatment now will give your child a healthy, beautiful smile for the future.  So, please contact Szymanowski Orthodontics to schedule an appointment for an evaluation.

Teen plays tennis

Orthodontics for Teens

There are three words that every teen dreads hearing: You. Need. Braces.
But in this day and age, there is absolutely no reason to be scared of the word braces, because they now come in a variety of styles, materials, and colors. Life with braces is much easier, more comfortable, and even more stylish than it was in the past.

There are a few key factors that determine the amount of time it takes to treat your smile with braces. One is whether or not you are a candidate for early treatment. Early, or preventative treatment, allows orthodontists to monitor the growth of the jaw and recommend further orthodontic treatment if it becomes necessary. Not everybody receives early orthodontic treatment; in some cases it may be recommended that a patient wait to receive treatment. Another factor is the amount of treatment needed to correct a problem. This determines how long the process takes. Different patients react to treatments differently. While it may take one patient only 12 months to complete treatment, it may take another patient 24 months. Treatment times can vary depending on how quickly your body responds and how much work is needed to give you the show-stopping smile you expect. Your willingness to use the appliances your orthodontist gives you plays a major role in the length of time it takes to complete your treatment. Always remember to take care of your braces and appliances; this truly will help make your treatment shorter!

At Szymanowski Orthodontics we offer a variety of braces, types and styles, to choose from. Some common options include:

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

Orthodontic braces are a big part of life for many people your age. While braces may have had a bad reputation in the past, today’s braces make it easy to look good and feel good! Please contact our practice to schedule your next orthodontic checkup.

Woman with brace in coffee shop

Orthodontics for Adults

The American Association of Orthodontists states that one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21, which means that orthodontic treatment is no longer just for teens. Many adults are choosing to receive treatment because they understand the importance of maintaining their health, and they want to feel better about their appearance. Adults everywhere are taking advantage of the opportunity to receive orthodontic care, and now you can too.

Common reasons why adults consider orthodontic treatment:

  • 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
  • A bad bite or malocclusion, causing teeth to fit together incorrectly
  • Teeth are crowded or spaced apart, possibly causing tooth decay or gum disease

For many adults, the thought of having metal braces is enough to discourage them from receiving treatment. However, today’s orthodontic treatment options offer a variety of braces and appliances that are comfortable, aesthetic, and customized to meet your needs. Types of braces include:

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

Younger patients’  jawbones are still developing, which is the main difference to remember when discussing treatment for adults, or children and teens. For adults, these bones have stopped growing, which may mean the possibility of orthognathic surgery to align the jawbones. Other differences include:

  • Incomplete orthodontic treatment as a teen — Many adults received some orthodontic treatment as a child or teen, but never completed their treatment. As an adult, they choose to complete their orthodontic treatment to achieve the healthy, beautiful smile they always wanted.
  • Gum or bone loss (periodontal disease) — Adults are more likely than children to experience gum recession or even bone loss due to gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease. Patients with straighter teeth are less likely to get gum disease.
  • 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.

Szymanowski Orthodontics recognizes that adults and children have different needs, and require a different level of attention and care. We will work with you to ensure that you receive the most appropriate treatments, and that your needs are met with understanding and respect from us.

Why should you consider orthodontic treatment?

Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to keep clean with flossing and brushing, and may help prevent other health problems. Remember, straight teeth are healthy teeth. Orthodontic treatment can help boost your self-confidence, giving you a better quality of life and the freedom to smile without holding back! Not receiving orthodontic treatment when it is needed can create long-term health issues costing you more in the end. If you are in the Spokane area and would like to learn more about the benefits of orthodontics, stop by one of our convenient offices, or call today to schedule an appointment. We want to help you to have the smile you have always dreamed of!