Early Orthodontics

What is the best age to begin orthodontics?

Georgetown Orthodontics offers braces and orthodontic treatment to patients of all ages! Even though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. Selecting the optimal timing ensures the best result with the least amount of time and expense. Because every patient is unique, at Georgetown Orthodontics, we have a very conservative and personalized treatment philosophy. We believe that much of the early treatment seen in children these days is often unwarranted.

In general, we do not subscribe to the philosophy of starting braces early while many of the primary (baby) teeth are still present. This type of treatment is called two-phase orthodontic treatment and involves the patient wearing braces twice. The early 1st round of braces is referred to as Phase 1 and generally lasts 12-18 months. A second, more comprehensive phase of braces, Phase 2, is then required once the remaining permanent teeth have erupted and adds another 18-24 months of treatment time in braces. Patients can easily get “burned out” on wearing braces twice and are often less compliant because they spend so much more time in treatment.

At Georgetown Orthodontics, we strongly believe that wearing braces twice is unnecessary in most cases. We do not routinely prescribe two-phase treatment. Two-phases of treatment not only increases the amount of time your child spends in braces, but will also significantly increase the cost to you. After having more than 35 years of experience enhancing smiles, we believe in and practice the traditional way of treatment and timing in braces. Do it once and do it right!

I’ve been told my child needs a palatal expander. Is that really necessary?

At Georgetown Orthodontics, we believe that palatal expanders are often overused and completely unnecessary in most cases. Palatal expander usage is not new. In fact, they have been around for well over 100 years in various forms. More recently, they have been used as a way to ‘treat airway and breathing issues’ in children along with other orthodontic problems. This concept is very controversial. Dr. Bentley has researched the subject extensively and does not believe the scientific evidence support these claims. Recent studies have even suggested that palatal expansion in young children can lead to loss of bone due to extremely heavy forces created by palatal expanders. 

Why should malocclusion (crooked teeth/bad bites) be treated?

According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusion can result in a variety of problems:
  • Crowded teeth are harder to brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease.
  • Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping.
  • Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear.
  • Openbites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech issues.
Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile – it creates a healthier you. The quality of treatment and timing is crucial.

I am an adult. Is it too late to start orthodontic treatment ?

Braces aren’t just for kids anymore. If your gums and bone structure are healthy, tooth alignment can be changed at any age. We offer a variety of treatments that are designed for different age groups – including adults. Your journey to a new smile can begin today!

Orthodontic treatment at later stages in life can dramatically improve your personal appearance and self-esteem. Improving the health of your teeth and gums is equally important. Crooked teeth and a bad bite can contribute to gum and bone loss, tooth decay, and abnormal wear of the tooth and enamel.

Good news! The new techniques and appliances we use greatly reduce discomfort levels. They also decrease the frequency of visits, shorten treatment time, and may allow you to choose from several options. Your options may include metal braces or clear translucent braces.

During the initial exam, we will be able to determine the best possible treatment for your individual needs. We provide you with a detailed treatment plan that includes the time of treatment expected and the approximate cost.