Serving Children, Teens & Adults
At Storms Orthodontics, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy orthodontic care and a perfectly aligned smile.
Your family can take advantage of a full range of orthodontics for children, teens, and adults at our offices in Fayetteville, Springdale, and Siloam Springs.
Northwestern Arkansas Braces & Invisalign
You’ll find the latest fixed and removable orthodontic appliances to choose from at Storms Orthodontics, including:
- Clear Braces
- Metal Braces
Orthodontics for Children
You probably know that it's never too late to begin orthodontic treatment—but when it comes to your youngster's teeth, did you know that earlier may be better than later? According to Storms Orthodontics and the American Association of Orthodontists, kids should have an initial orthodontic screening at age seven. What makes early evaluation — and potentially, early treatment — so important?
There are several ways that kids can benefit from seeing an orthodontist early. But it's important to recognize that early evaluation isn't necessarily followed by early treatment; in most cases if orthodontic work is needed, we monitor your child's growth patterns until we see that it's time for treatment to begin. Early monitoring allows us to get the best results efficiently and help prevent future problems.
Although every child's development is different, the first adult molars have typically started to emerge by around age six in most kids. This, along with other developmental markers, lets us get a handle on the basic alignment of the teeth, from front to back and side to side. It may also be possible to determine whether there is adequate room in the mouth for all of the permanent teeth — and, if not, to take action.
When Early Treatment Is Better
Treatment for common orthodontic problems typically begins around age 9-14, when all baby teeth are gone, and many permanent ones are in place. But some conditions are much easier to treat if we catch them early when a child's natural growth processes are going full speed.
Crossbite is a condition where the upper teeth close inside the lower teeth. We use a device called a palatal expander to treat this issue. A palatal expander gradually and painlessly widens the upper jaw; it's especially effective when the jaw hasn't fully developed. If we wait too long, a more complicated treatment — or even oral surgery — might be required to correct the problem.
Crowding is another condition that may benefit from early treatment. This occurs when the jaws are too small to accommodate all permanent teeth. We may recommend either palatal expansion or tooth extraction at this point to help the adult teeth erupt properly. Even if braces are required later, the treatment time will likely be shorter and less complicated.
Protruding teeth, especially in front, can be prone to chipping and fractures; they may also lead to a child's self-image problems. A severe underbite, caused by the lower jaw growing much larger than the upper jaw, can result in serious bite problems. Early intervention may also help resolve several other problems.
Orthodontic appliances, including braces and headgear, can be successfully used to correct these problems at this stage, when the child's development is in full swing, thereby increasing the chances that you can avoid surgery.
Correcting Bad Habits
At one time or another, anyone may pick up a bad habit. But there are some situations where a youngster's bad habits can influence the development and function of their teeth, jaws, and mouth. Some examples of these are persistent thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, and mouth breathing.
The sucking reflex is natural in early childhood; it usually disappears between 2 and 4. But if it persists much later, the pressure of the digit on the front teeth and the upper jaw can cause the teeth to move apart and the jaws to change shape. This can lead to the orthodontic problem called "open bite" and may impair speech. An open bite can also be caused by the force of the tongue pushing forward against the teeth (tongue thrusting).
Mouth breathing — an abnormal breathing pattern in which the mouth always remains open, passing air directly to the lungs — is related to alterations in the muscular function of the tongue and face. It may cause the upper and lower jaw to grow abnormally, leading to serious orthodontic problems. Although mouth breathing may start from a physical difficulty, it can become a habitual action that's hard to break.
Various orthodontic treatments are available to help correct these harmful habits — and the sooner they're taken care of, the less damage they may cause. But these potential problems aren't always easy to recognize. That's one more reason you should bring your child in for early orthodontic screening.
Orthodontics for Teens
Braces are a rite of passage for many teens: They're one more example of the changes adolescents go through at this time — along with growth in stature, edgier tastes in clothes and music, and an increasing degree of self-awareness. But is there any reason why orthodontic appliances and teenagers seem to go together? In a word: Yes.
Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment for Teens
There are several good reasons why adolescence is the optimal time for orthodontic treatment. Generally, children lose baby teeth by the age of 11-13, and the permanent ones have mostly erupted. This is when we can go to work correcting the problems that cause a bad bite (malocclusion), improper tooth spacing, or poor alignment.
Orthodontic problems don't improve with age — they become harder to treat. It's easier to treat many orthodontic problems during adolescence because the body is still growing rapidly at this time. Whether we use standard braces or appliances like palatal expanders, we can create an improved appearance and function in a short period. In later years, when the face and jawbones are fully developed, many conditions become more difficult (and costly) to treat.
There's even a social element to getting orthodontic treatment in adolescence. If you need braces, you're not alone! You'll see some of your classmates in our office, and you may even make new friends as you go through the process together. When you complete treatment, you'll have a smile that you can be proud of and benefits that will last your whole life.
The Orthodontic Process
What can you expect when you come into our office for treatment? It all depends on what kind of treatment you need. The first time you come in, we will take pictures and X-rays of your mouth and a model of your bite. Then, we'll develop a treatment plan. It may involve regular braces, with or without elastics (rubber bands). We might also recommend that you use a specialized appliance for some time.
Orthodontics for Adults
We're seeing more and more adult orthodontic patients these days, and it's not hard to figure out why. Appliances that are barely noticeable have been developed to give adults more discreet choices for orthodontic treatment.
And many adults realize that investing in a smile makeover can have significant benefits, socially and professionally. Straightening teeth can be an important part of that confidence-boosting makeover process.
Healthy teeth can be moved at any age, so there's no such thing as being too old for braces. However, orthodontic treatment for adults is different in two important respects.
For one thing, the growth and development of the jaws are complete in adults, so changes in actual jaw structure can't be accomplished with orthodontic appliances in the way they can with a growing child.
Secondly, periodontal (gum) disease is more prevalent in adults than in children. While you are wearing the orthodontic appliances, gentle forces will be applied to your teeth so they can move through their surrounding bone.
Periodontal health plays a crucial role in treatment. Bone loss can weaken your teeth if the gum tissues are not healthy during orthodontics.
This is why it's important to get any gum disease under control before starting orthodontic treatment.
And to maintain your periodontal health, you will need to make sure to have regular professional cleanings during orthodontic treatment while maintaining good oral hygiene at home.
Why Should You Think About Orthodontic Treatment?
Straight Teeth Are Healthy
After your orthodontist aligns your teeth correctly, it’s easier for you to clean them through regular flossing and brushing. This helps prevent other oral issues, including some problems that can affect your overall health.
A Straight Smile Builds Confidence & Self-Esteem
Successful orthodontic treatment at Storms Orthodontics can help boost your self-confidence, create a better quality of life, and allow you to smile freely for maybe the first time.
Untreated Oral Issues Will Get Worse
If you refuse or delay orthodontic treatment when your orthodontist recommends it, you may run into long-term health issues that may wind up costing you more in the end.
At Storms Orthodontics, our team understands that teens, kids, and adults all have different dental needs, so we give each age group personal care.
We’ll work diligently for you to make sure you receive the most appropriate treatment at our inviting offices in Fayetteville, Springdale, and Siloam Springs.
Start With a Free Consultation
Start your journey towards a healthy new smile today and schedule your free consultation with our expert and friendly orthodontists, Dr. Storms and Dr. Swiderski.
Contact Storms Orthodontics and we’ll talk about your options and develop an orthodontic treatment plan designed just for your needs and smile goals.