Many patients ask us when the best time is to start orthodontic treatment. With all of the new adult orthodontic braces that are on the market, is there still an optimal time to get your teeth aligned? The answer is yes, there are several factors which when are present in the mouth at once, result in the perfect time to get orthodontic treatment, and this is at around 12 years of age. Below we wish to speak a little about what to look for, what to be aware of, and how to tell if the time is right for orthodontics.
Milk teeth and molars
It is usually of no use whatsoever to apply orthodontic devices to milk teeth. They will fall, and as such their alignment is not so important, and their little roots make them easy to move around even with a removable device. Orthodontic treatment should begin once all of the milk teeth have already fallen out. Orthodontic treatment also requires that the 12 year molars or second molars be at least partially present, as these determine how much of the teeth will stand, and how they will affect each other.
There are certain circumstances which may make starting orthodontic treatment necessary before the 12 year molars have completely erupted. If there is considerable arch constriction, or if the crowding is already very bad with the front teeth, then starting it early is probably the right thing to do.
Patient cooperation and length of treatment
The most important factor for dental problems during orthodontic treatment is none other than patient participation. Sometimes patients cannot show up for an activation or two, and this can lead to greatly lengthened treatment times. Other times the patients do not follow the treatment plan and this can lead to complications. The most important thing is to follow your treatment plan to the letter as much as possible, and this way most problems should be avoided. Orthodontic treatment usually takes between 12 and 30 months to complete, but this can drag on if the patient does not cooperate.