Choosing a time to start orthodontic treatment, such as braces or Invisalign, should occur after careful consideration of the length of the treatment and amount of commitment involved. For adult patients that are candidates for Invisalign treatment, a minimum of six months is typically required for simple cases, and more complex cases can take nine months or longer. For children, most dentists will wait until the permanent teeth have mostly grown in before starting braces or offering other treatments, except in the case of interceptive orthodontics.
Interceptive orthodontics is an early treatment designed to reduce the need for extensive orthodontic treatment later. The treatment often includes the widening of the upper and/or lower jaw to make room for teeth as they emerge, reducing the risk of crowding. The expansion of the upper jaw may be done to reduce a cross-bite problem, as well. Extractions of baby teeth can be incorporated with the treatment to provide sufficient room for permanent teeth, and space maintainers or similar devices may be worn to ensure the space remains for the adult teeth during the period of tooth transition.
Most interceptive orthodontic treatments are typically done quickly and decisively before permanent teeth emerge, although many dentists with experience in this field will recommend some patients wait to see if there is, in fact, a need for extensive treatment. Teenagers are the most common patients with braces, and some mild cases are suitable for treating with Invisalign. Regardless of the approach, undergoing braces or similar treatment during high school can usually ensure the treatment is complete by graduation so the need for regular visits to the dentist are greatly reduced when the patient heads off to college.
An informative consultation prior to starting treatment will help establish a tentative timeline. For more information on available orthodontic treatment options, contact the office of Dr. John B. Morris today to schedule your visit.