It is very common to see many young people wearing braces and sporting a variety colors on their teeth. Besides having a beautiful smile for graduation photos , getting braces in the teen years may be beneficial because it allows Dr. Richardson to manipulate growing jaw bones. Sometimes this helps her to achieve better results than she could if in a non-growing patient.
Dr. Richardson prefers to start adolescent treatment when all the permanent teeth are present, and this is normally between the ages of 11 and 13. However, other considerations in her decision to place braces is the maturity of the patient and how their jaw bones are growing. This could influence her to start treatment earlier, or delay treatment until the growth spurt is completed.
Dr. Richardson approaches her treatment from the philosophy that facial esthetics must be preserved during Orthodontic treatment. Often, a full compliment of permanent adult teeth is necessary to give the lips and soft tissue of the face proper support and fullness. Therefore, Dr. Richardson prefers a non-extraction treatment approach whenever it is possible, and only removes permanent teeth when there is no other solution. She will incorporate expansion and other functional appliances into her treatment plans when she feels they will benefit the patient and allow her to manipulate growing jaw and facial bones.
The MARA (Mandibular anterior repositioning appliance) and palatal expanders are just two examples of tools Dr. Richardson uses to take advantage of jaw growth and maximize results. These types of appliances may help patients avoid more aggressive treatment plans that involve jaw surgery if they are used at the optimal time.