Orthodontics For All Ages

Here at Shin Orthodontics, we believe everyone should have access to quality orthodontic care and a beautiful straight smile. We’re proud to offer a full range of orthodontics for children, teens, and adults at our Rockville and Potomac orthodontic offices.

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Schedule a free in-office orthodontic consultation with one of our doctors at our Rockville office or Potomac office (in Cabin John Mall). If you would like to do your free consultation from home, please complete our virtual consultation platform.

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The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children get their first check-up with an AAO orthodontist at the first recognition of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age 7. Around that age, children have a mix of baby (primary) and permanent teeth. An examination as permanent teeth take the place of baby teeth, and as the face and jaws are growing, gives the orthodontist a wealth of information. If a problem exists, or if one is developing, Dr. Richard and Dr. Debra are able to advise you on whether treatment is recommended, when it should begin, what form treatment will take, and estimate its length.

What will I learn at an early check-up?

In general, an examination would reveal if your child has an existing orthodontic problem, or if one is developing. You could also learn that no problems are present at this time.

How much does a check-up cost?

Most AAO orthodontists offer examinations at no (or low) cost, and at no obligation.

Will my child need early treatment?

Only a few orthodontic problems need correction while a child has baby teeth. In the event that a problem is detected, chances are your orthodontist will take a “wait-and-see” approach, and will check your child’s growth and development periodically. When the time is right for your child, orthodontic treatment can begin.

Are braces used in early treatment?

When a child has early treatment (while most baby teeth are present), the type of treatment varies based on the kind of problem a child needs corrected. The goal of early treatment is to create a better environment for permanent teeth as they come in. Not all orthodontic treatment is accomplished with braces. For some patients, early treatment could consist of removal of a stubborn baby tooth, so that the succeeding permanent tooth can arrive in its proper place. Some patients may need help with how to position their tongue when they swallow, while others may need intervention to stop a thumb- or finger-sucking habit. These are sometimes treated with habit appliances. If a child’s upper jaw is too narrow, so that the permanent teeth do not have room to come in, treatment could consist of a palate expander to widen the jaw. Braces are often recommended to optimize tooth and jaw alignment after most or all of the permanent teeth are in. Your AAO orthodontist makes use of the full range of orthodontic appliances and will recommend the type of treatment he/she believes is best suited to your child and correcting his/her orthodontic problem

If treatment is done while my child has some baby teeth, does that mean s/he is done with treatment?

Not necessarily. Sometimes preventive or interceptive orthodontic treatment is all that a patient needs. More often, though, patients will require a second phase of comprehensive orthodontic treatment after a child has most or all of their permanent teeth. This completes the tooth and jaw alignment that was started with a first phase of preventive or interceptive treatment.

Why move baby teeth?

The purpose of early treatment is not moving baby teeth to improve their appearance. Rather, early treatment is done to create a healthy environment for permanent teeth that will be coming in. While baby teeth may be repositioned in preventive or interceptive orthodontic treatment, their movement is incidental. Baby teeth are there to hold space for permanent teeth, to help with facial development, to make it possible to bite and chew, and for clear speech.

While we treat patients of all ages, teenagers are the most common here at Shin Orthodontics. This is because orthodontic treatment is ideal for teens. It is a time of quick growth and change for them, which means it’s easier to shape their smile and bite.

If your child is in need of braces, you’re probably both wondering what the best option is. Teens can get nervous about the way they look and what others will think of them.

The good news– the options are far better than they used to be. In this article, we’ll discuss the different braces options for teens so that you can learn more about the best treatments.

Why do Teens Need Braces?

Braces can solve a number of oral health issues, including:

  • Overly crowded and crooked teeth

  • Gaps between teeth

  • Overbite (where the upper teeth bite over the lower teeth)

  • Open bite (where some teeth cannot properly touch each other)

  • Underbite (where the lower teeth stick out ahead of the upper teeth)

  • Crossbite (where both the lower and upper teeth are misaligned)

Fixing these issues carries several benefits. First, it improves the way your teen’s smile will look. Many studies have shown that people with healthier smiles have more confidence and often enjoy more success in work and in their communities.

But it’s not just about the way your child’s teeth look. Having a good smile also has several health benefits, such as:

  • Teeth are easier to clean and therefore less likely to get cavities or decay

  • Bad bites can create unnecessary pressure on certain teeth – this can lead to chipped teeth or sore jaw muscles

  • Straighter teeth contribute to more clear speech

We often recommend braces in a patient’s teenage years because it is a time of change. This means the treatment can happen more quickly than in their adult years, and they’ll also be surrounded by other teens who have braces.

What Option is Best for Your Child?

Now the question remains– which option is best for your child? Perhaps the best way to determine this is to discuss your options with an orthodontist you trust. You’ll want to understand your teenager’s concerns about getting braces and consider your budget. After your orthodontist examines your child’s mouth, they can recommend what they think is best.

You can have a healthy, beautiful smile at any age. Orthodontic treatment today is a viable option for almost any adult. Like youngsters, adults can experience the self-assurance that comes with a confident smile, along with the benefits of improved oral health. Take this opportunity to explore answers to questions that others have asked about orthodontic treatment for adults.

Am I too old for orthodontic treatment?

You are never too old for orthodontic treatment. Your orthodontist considers many variables when developing your customized treatment plan, but age is rarely a deciding factor.

Do other adults get orthodontic treatment?

Yes they do.  As of 2016, there were 1,690,000 adults being treated by U.S. and Canadian members of the American Association of Orthodontists.

Can orthodontic treatment help me keep my teeth?

Teeth and jaws that are properly aligned are easier to keep clean through brushing and flossing. Correcting the bite (how the upper and lower teeth fit together) reduces improper forces placed on the teeth and improves your ability to bite and chew and improves the odds of keeping your teeth long-term.

What if I’m missing some teeth?

Depending on what is missing, your orthodontist may choose to move neighboring teeth together to close the space where the tooth is missing or hold open a space for a bridge or implant. Your orthodontist will work with your family dentist and/or other dental specialists.

I see ads for perfect teeth in only one or two visits to the dentist. Will that give me straight teeth?

The ads may have been for veneers, which are thin, tooth-colored shells that are glued to the fronts of teeth. But they do not alter an improper arrangement of teeth – they just cover up the problem. Veneers are easier to place and last longer when teeth are straight, and the bite has been corrected.

What about doing my own aligner treatment at home?

If moving teeth is done incorrectly, or if there’s a problem that you aren’t aware of, you may be putting your teeth, gums and the bone around the teeth at risk of potentially irreversible damage. Orthodontic treatment is a complex biological process. That’s why it takes so many years of education to become an orthodontist. Exercise due diligence. Review this page, and before making any decision about orthodontic treatment, consider having an in-person consultation with an orthodontist who is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists. Use the Find an Orthodontist service to locate AAO members near you.  Many times the consultation is at no charge.

Maybe I should just have all my teeth pulled and get dentures. Then I’ll have straight teeth!

Today’s 25-year-old has the potential of another 75 years of keeping and using their teeth. Orthodontic treatment is often part of a comprehensive dental healthcare plan. With good care, including orthodontic treatment when necessary, teeth can last a lifetime.