Orthodontics For Children

While there is no exact age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends visiting the orthodontist around age seven for an initial consultation. By this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, making it easier for the orthodontist to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems sooner and without surgery. Dr. Courtney will determine if early treatment is needed or if continued monitoring of growth and development is recommended until your child is ready for treatment.

Early Treatment Allows Your Orthodontist

  • Correct and guide the growth of your child’s jaw to help the permanent teeth come in straight
  • Regulate the width of the upper and lower jaws
  • Create more space for crowded teeth
  • Potentially avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
  • Correct habits such as thumb-sucking


For parents, it’s not always easy to know if and when your child may need orthodontic treatment.

Here Are A Few Things To Look For That May Mean Your Child Needs To See An Orthodontist

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • A hard time chewing or biting food
  • Mouth breathing
  • Finger or thumb-sucking habit
  • Crowded, misplaced, or blocked teeth
  • Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
  • Teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
  • Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
  • Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight


If you feel that your child has one or more of these problems or you are uncertain, please contact our practice to schedule an appointment for an orthodontic evaluation.

Orthodontics For Teens

Don’t worry! Orthodontic treatment isn’t nearly as unpleasant as you may think. In fact, braces today come in a variety of styles, materials, and colors, making life with braces much easier, more comfortable, and even more stylish than in the past. Invisalign (removable, clear, plastic trays) could also be an option depending on the orthodontic issues present.

How Long Will I Have To Wear Braces?

The amount of time it takes to treat your smile with orthodontic appliances depends on three key factors:


  • Early treatment — Early treatment allows orthodontists to monitor the growth of the jaw and recommend further orthodontic treatment if it becomes necessary. Not everybody receives early orthodontic treatment. In some cases, it may be recommended that a patient wait to receive treatment.
  • What needs correction — The amount of treatment needed to correct a problem will determine how long the process takes. Different patients react to treatments differently. While it may take one patient only 12 months to complete treatment, it may take another patient 24 months. Treatment times can vary depending on how quickly your body responds and how much work is needed to give you the beautiful smile that you expect.
  • Your cooperation — Your willingness to use the appliances Dr. Courtney gives you plays a major role in the length of time it takes to complete your treatment. Always remember to take care of your braces and appliances. This truly will help make your treatment shorter!

Treatment Your Way

Our practice offers a variety of treatment options to choose from. Options include:


  • Traditional metal braces
  • Ceramic braces
  • Invisalign (removable, clear, plastic trays)


Orthodontic treatment is a big part of life for many people your age. While braces may have had a bad reputation in the past, today’s options make it easy to look good and feel good. Please contact our practice to schedule your orthodontic consultation.

Orthodontics For Adults

Orthodontic treatment is no longer just for adolescents. In fact, the number of adults seeking orthodontic treatment has increased dramatically in the last 10 years. Many adults are choosing to receive treatment because they understand the importance of maintaining their health, and they want to feel better about their appearance. Other adults are taking advantage of the opportunity to receive orthodontic care, and now you can too.

Common Reasons Why Adults Consider Orthodontic Treatment

  • Desire for a healthier mouth and a more confident smile
  • An improper bite relationship or malocclusion, causing teeth to fit together incorrectly
  • Teeth that are crowded or spaced apart
  • Difficulty with chewing or eating
  • Skeletal imbalances (poor jaw relationships) that affect facial appearance
  • Retreatment after having had braces earlier in life and failing to wear a retainer long-term
  • As part of an overall dental treatment plan: the orthodontist works to align your teeth so that your family dentist can properly place the implants, fillings, crowns, or bridges needed to restore missing or misshaped teeth.

Treatment Options For Adults

For many adults, the thought of having metal braces is enough to discourage them from receiving treatment; however, today’s orthodontic treatment options offer a variety of appliances that are comfortable, cosmetically appealing, and customized to meet your needs. Treatment options include:


  • Traditional metal braces
  • Ceramic braces
  • Invisalign (removable, clear, plastic trays)

The Difference Between Adult Orthodontics And Orthodontics For Children And Teens

The main difference to remember when treating adults or children and teens, is that in younger patients the jawbones are still developing. For adults, these bones have stopped growing, which may make it more difficult to correct certain types of orthodontic issues.


  • Gum or bone loss (periodontal disease) — Adults are more likely than children to experience gum recession or even bone loss due to gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease. Patients with straighter teeth may be less likely to get gum disease.
  • Worn or missing teeth — Over time teeth can become worn down and shift into different positions that can only be corrected with orthodontic care. Missing teeth can cause other teeth to shift and tilt, creating an improper bite relationship.
  • Incomplete orthodontic treatment as a teen — Many adults received some orthodontic treatment as a child or teen, but never completed their treatment or failed to wear their retainer long-term. As an adult, they choose to complete their orthodontic treatment to achieve the healthy, beautiful smile they always wanted.


Our practice also recognizes that adults and children have different needs, and require a different level of attention and care. We will work with you to ensure that you receive the most appropriate treatments, and that your needs are met with understanding and respect from us.

Why Should You Consider Orthodontic Treatment?

  • Straight teeth are healthy teeth — Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to keep clean with flossing and brushing, and may help prevent other health problems.
  • A beautiful, straight smile builds confidence — Orthodontic treatment can help boost your self-confidence, giving you a better quality of life and the freedom to smile without worrying!
  • You deserve it— If you are a parent and/or spouse, chances are that you’ve been putting other’s needs ahead of your own. Now is your chance to invest in yourself and achieve a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime!


Mouths left untreated can get worse — Not receiving orthodontic treatment when it’s needed can create long-term dental issues costing you more in the end.
To learn more about the benefits of adult orthodontics please contact us to schedule an appointment. We understand that you have a busy schedule, and we will work with you to make sure each office visit is as convenient as possible.

Southern Smiles is the premier choice for orthodontics in Roanoke Rapids, NC. Call (252) 365-4234 to take the first step to the smile you always wanted!

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