Orthodontics treatment often coincides with adolescence, by this stage most of the adult teeth have come through and you can get a very good idea how straight your adult teeth are setting. But this doesn’t mean we can’t start orthodontic treatment before puberty.
Not every child needs the same orthodontic treatment at the same time
A specialist orthodontist like Dr Amanda Leen is extensively trained in facial growth and dental development patterns. Similarly, she recognises your child is a unique individual. As such, any treatment recommendations will be what best suits your child.
Some children should have orthodontic treatment whilst they are still growing to achieve optimal results. Others are better to wait for treatment as teenagers when more of their growth is complete. So just because your neighbour’s kids are having a certain treatment at a particular age, it doesn’t mean it is for everyone. Only a consultation and full assessment can uncover what your child may need. Of course, many children do not require treatment at all!
Children with special needs
We want everyone to smile! Kids with special needs are most welcome to come and learn about orthodontic treatment with Dr Leen. As long as your child can keep their own teeth clean, we find they have good success with orthodontic treatment. Dr Leen understands that some kids need a little extra time and explanation to get used to the way we do things. For many years Dr Leen worked for as a staff specialist at The Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne where a large number of patients have special needs. Just tell us your child’s needs and we will be happy to work with them on their new smile.
Treatment while a child has “baby teeth” is often not needed
There are only a few situations where it may be necessary to start treatment for children before all baby teeth are lost. This might be a jaw expander or some aligners to fix a cross bite. Because an orthodontic assessment will be straightforward for your child and will give you lots of information, you are welcome to bring them in from the age of 7 if you or your dentist has any concerns with the position of their teeth. The vast majority of children won’t need any treatment at this age, but we will be happy to annually review their dental development as part of the initial consultation fee (general dental checks are still needed). Complete orthodontic care can generally start when children lose all their baby teeth around age 11-13.
What if they do need treatment?
If your child does need orthodontic treatment they benefit from Midwestern being a fully digital orthodontic practice, so they won’t need to have traditional impressions (moulds) of their teeth to make appliances. We use a video scanner to capture the shape of their teeth and 3D printing to make our appliances. And you will be given an all-inclusive fee so there are no surprises.
Patients aged 11 and over usually have enough adult teeth and jaw line development that an orthodontic treatment plan can be pursued.
Teenage years are often the best time for orthodontic treatment
Patients aged 11 and over usually have enough adult teeth present and enough jaw development completed that an orthodontic treatment plan can be decided upon. Teeth move fastest in children and teens. This is not to say that adults can’t have orthodontic treatment, just that the results tend to be a bit faster to achieve with young people. Plus, if you have orthodontic treatment as a teenager, you get the confidence of a great smile throughout high school.
Will my teenager wear those aligners?
Some parents worry that a removable orthodontic appliance such as Invisalign won’t be worn by their son or daughter. Rest assured, Dr Leen has worked with this age group for many years and has gotten pretty good at motivating patients to comply with the requirements of orthodontic treatment. Even traditional braces require a high degree of cooperation for success.
Parents are often surprised that their teen takes responsibility for looking after their aligners, cleaning their teeth well or wearing their elastics. Because Invisalign looks great, feels smooth and allows your teen to eat and clean their teeth just like always, it’s not a big hassle for them.
Aligners work well for busy teens
We will give you advice on how to make aligners work for your particular hobbies and activities.
Sport: If you play a contact sport that needs a mouthguard, no problems – just take your top aligner out and wear a mouthguard. Plus you won’t get scratched up cheeks like if you got a knock with braces on.
Music: If you play a woodwind or brass instrument, you can take your aligners out for practice. Braces tend to be quite irritating on the lips of those who play woodwind or brass.
On show: If you enjoy being on stage under lights for a school play or dance recital, you can continue to wear your aligners and no-one will know. If you do some modelling or want to look great at the school formal or graduation, aligners are for you.
Parties: Meeting new people for the first time isn’t when you want them to notice your braces, you just want to be who you are.
Invisalign treatment is perfect for the digital generation
Dr Leen is a digital native, having grown up using computers like the kids and teenagers of today. Invisalign treatment at Midwestern Aligner Orthodontics is the tailored for the digital generation. We get that you get it and that you have probably already you tubed an Invisalign story!
Teens understand that the tooth scanner in our office makes an STL model of their teeth and that Dr Leen uses an app to get their smile just right, then their customised tooth aligners will be manufactured by way of 3D printing (but Before a patient’s aligners even arrive in Ballarat they will receive a link to their finished 3D tooth model, so they can see the smile they are working towards.
During treatment we can use our tooth scanner to help keep patients keep on track wearing their aligners with a “progress scan”. At each appointment we will show patients photos of their teeth before treatment on the screen so they can see what a good job they have done by wearing their aligners well.