Orthodontic treatment for children
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, the first orthodontic consultation should be done at the age of seven with a panoramic x-ray. At this visit the orthodontist will see whether there is a malocclusion, its nature (dental or skeletal), as well as the necessity or not of a first phase treatment (phase I). In most cases, skeletal problems (for example protrusion of the mandible, crossbite) and malfunction habits (for example tongue thrusting) are confronted at this young age. Timely orthodontic treatment offers a fast and easy solution to all skeletal problems (the term skeletal refers to problems of size or coordination of the two jaws) that would otherwise be dealt totally differently–and with greater difficulty–later in the teen years. An added benefit is that preventive treatment creates room in the dental arches to facilitate the permanent teeth’s eruption.
In phase I, removable appliances (for example functional appliances, headgear), cemented appliances (for example rapid palatal expanders) and fewer braces are used. The duration of this treatment is approximately one year.
Orthodontic treatment for teenagers
The orthodontic treatment for teenagers starts with the clinical examination and the evaluation of the panoramic and the cephalometric x-rays.
Braces (either metal or ceramic) are bonded on the tooth surface in combination with orthopedic appliances, if a skeletal problem exists simultaneously. The average duration of this treatment is two years with proportional monthly visits and its aim is the creation of a healthy, beautiful and functionally balanced occlusion. Alternative to the traditional brackets, the techniques of alignment with invisible aligners (see orthodontic appliances) can be used in teenagers.
Orthodontic treatment for adults
In recent years with the evolution of technology and the innovation of new alternative methods of teeth straightening, the orthodontic treatment of adults gains more and more popularity. The adult patients’ goal is either the complete rehabilitation of their malocclusion problem, or they are referred to the orthodontist by their general practitioner for a short orthodontic treatment to facilitate the performance of prosthodontic treatment. In other instances, the referral is done by the periodontist in order for the periodontal teeth to be moved to a more favorable position and then get stabilized in this position, so as not to accept huge forces. In these cases, there is a close collaboration between the general and the specialized dentist. A substantial proportion of cases of this category is nowadays treated with the method of clear aligners. This method consists of a series of individualized transparent aligners from polyurethane that cover the teeth completely and are removed at meals. The patient must change them every 7-10 days.