The Top 5 Things Moms Need To Know About Orthodontics

Here at Cowan Orthodontics, we know how tough it can be for moms to keep family life functioning smoothly. Many days, you have to fill the roles of cook, chauffeur, accountant, personal assistant, and even party planner. But when it comes to caring for your child’s smile? You can sit this one out! Even if you balance work, school, and extracurriculars like a pro, your child’s oral health requires expertise and professional guidance. That’s where an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Glen Cowan comes in!  

You may not know it, but it takes several years of additional education and training after dental school to become an orthodontist. As a highly-trained specialist, Dr. Cowan is skilled in tooth movement, facial growth, and dental development. He also has years of experience in creating beautiful smiles! You may not be an expert on orthodontics, but Dr. Cowan is. That’s why you can count on him to give your child a healthier, straighter smile that lasts.

Orthodontic care is a big investment in your child’s oral health, and their future. The trust you and your family place in our practice is important, and we want you and your child to feel fully confident in the journey ahead. Let’s take a closer look at some of the top things you should know about orthodontics!

Schedule an initial orthodontic evaluation by age 7

While orthodontics is often associated with teens, patients of all ages can benefit from improved oral health. This is one reason the American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children have their first orthodontic exam by about the age of 7. Some parents are confused by this recommendation, since children that young have lots of baby teeth left, and mouths that are still developing. But that’s actually the point! Observing a child’s mouth at this age allows us to spot any potential problems early on, which can reduce (or even eliminate) any negative impact on your child’s permanent teeth and bite.

Cowan Orthodontics treats a number of younger patients, and we’ve seen firsthand the difference preventive care can make to their smile. Starting treatment at the right time can have a big impact on a child’s oral health, both now and in the future! Even though most children won’t require any active treatment at first, an early exam lets us determine if orthodontic treatment is likely in their future, and when the most advantageous time to begin would be.

Cowan assistant scanning a patient's teeth

Orthodontics: beyond straight smiles

Many people are under the impression that orthodontics focuses exclusively on straightening smiles. The truth is there’s so much more to it than that! Orthodontic treatment can address and correct a variety of issues, from simple to complex. Crooked teeth, misaligned jaws, overbites, etc. go beyond a patient’s cosmetic appearance, and can affect overall oral health as well. Working with an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Cowan leads to not only a straighter smile, but a mouth that is fully functional!

Because straight teeth aren’t the only indicator of a healthy smile, orthodontists spend time learning how to diagnose, prevent, and correct malpositioned teeth and jaws. By examining a patient’s teeth, the movement and growth of their jaw, and the way the teeth are developing, Dr. Cowan can catch any impacted, missing, or overcrowded teeth that may otherwise go unnoticed. This often means that we can correct issues before they can become bigger problems requiring more invasive treatment methods.

Choose a practice your family feels comfortable with

When your child is undergoing orthodontic treatment, you can expect to spend quite a bit of time in the orthodontist’s office. Depending on the type of appliance and the treatment plan, most patients will be seen approximately every 6-10 weeks or so, so you’ll want to find an office that you and your child feel comfortable with! 

Our Tuscaloosa office is conveniently located, and provides patients of any age with a safe, welcoming, and relaxing space. Dr. Cowan uses the latest technology and most innovative treatments available, so we’re able to offer the best in customized orthodontic care. Our team takes extra care to treat your family like our own, and we always go the extra mile to make sure our patients achieve the healthy, beautiful smile they want in a supportive environment. 

Multiple treatment options are available

Cowan Orthodontics combines cutting-edge techniques and technology with personalized treatment plans for the best results. We offer the following treatments in our office.

Traditional metal braces

This is the most popular orthodontic treatment available, and it’s not hard to see why.  They’re reliable, effective, and cost-efficient, not to mention smaller, lighter, and more comfortable than ever before! Metal braces are composed of high-quality stainless steel brackets, wires, and bands that work together to gently guide the teeth into the desired positions. They can even be personalized by choosing elastics from a wide variety of fun colors. 

Clear braces

Also known as ceramic, tooth-colored, or esthetic braces, these function in the same way metal braces do, but are a more discrete option. Patients can choose semi-translucent ceramic brackets for very white teeth, or tooth-colored ceramic for slightly darker teeth. Either option tends to blend in well with your natural smile! When paired with clear, white, or tooth-colored wires and elastic ties, they are an incredibly subtle way to straighten your smile, and are especially popular with our adult patients. 

Clear braces are durable, but they are made from a material that can chip or crack. For younger patients, or those who have more complex corrections to be made, metal braces may be the better option. 

Invisalign clear aligner therapy

Invisalign uses a series of clear, customized aligners to move the teeth over time. Because these aligners are nearly invisible and completely removable, they give patients an extra freedom and flexibility not available with braces. As the teeth begin to shift, the aligners will be changed out every 1-2 weeks to keep up with their movement.

The Invisalign system relies on patient compliance to work properly. Aligners must be worn a minimum of 20-22 hours every day, throughout the course of treatment, in order to achieve the desired results. Invisalign tends to work best for patients with mild to moderate orthodontic issues, so it may not always be a suitable choice for cases that are more severe or complicated.

Dr. Cowan working on a patient's teeth

Treatment times will vary

When it comes to how long a patient will need to be in braces or aligners, there’s no “one size fits all” answer. Every case is different, and each patient will respond to treatment in their own way. The length of time that your child will require treatment will depend on their specific case, the severity of the problem, along with their oral health and how compliant they are. On average, however, braces tend to be worn for about 12-24 months, while Invisalign treatment usually lasts around 12-18 months.

Find your child’s best smile at Cowan Orthodontics

We know moms want nothing but the best for their children, including a healthy smile that will last them a lifetime! If you have a child around the age of 7, we’d love to schedule them for an initial visit with our doctors. Get in touch today for a FREE consultation!

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