Thinking about your child and whether orthodontic treatment might be needed at some point? You’ve come to the right place. Orthodontic treatment can be a very important part of your child’s oral health care.
What is the purpose of orthodontic treatment?
The purpose of orthodontic treatment is to create a healthy, functional “bite,” which is part tooth alignment and part jaw position. When jaws and teeth line up correctly, they are able to function as nature intended. This promotes oral health and general physical health. That orthodontic treatment also brings about an attractive smile is an added bonus.
How will orthodontic treatment help my child?
Orthodontic treatment will help your child bite and chew, and contribute to clear speech. When teeth function properly, they tend to look nice. An attractive smile is a pleasant side effect of orthodontic treatment, and can have emotional benefits. Self-confidence and self-esteem may improve as orthodontic treatment brings teeth, lips and face into proportion. Straight teeth are less prone to decay, gum disease and injury.
Orthodontic treatment is just cosmetic, right?
Wrong! There’s much more to orthodontic treatment than meets the eye. An improved appearance is the most obvious result. But when teeth and jaws are in alignment, it means function (biting, chewing, speaking) is improved, too.
The beautiful smile that results from orthodontic treatment is the outward sign of good oral health, and sets the stage for the patient’s overall well-being. Orthodontic treatment plays a larger role in healthcare than is generally realized.
Where did my child’s orthodontic problems come from?
Most orthodontic problems are inherited. Some are “acquired,” developing over time by sucking the thumb or fingers, mouth breathing, dental disease, abnormal swallowing, poor dental hygiene, or early or late loss of baby teeth, accidents and poor nutrition. Sometimes an inherited orthodontic problem is complicated by an acquired problem. Whatever the cause, orthodontists are usually able to treat most conditions successfully.
Won’t my child’s teeth straighten out as they grow?
Unfortunately, your child’s teeth will not straighten out as he or she grows. The space available for the permanent front teeth does not increase as one grows. For most people, after the permanent (12 year) molars come in, there is even less space available for the front teeth.
Untreated orthodontic problems can become worse, and more difficult to treat as a child gets older. Untreated problems may lead to tooth decay, gum disease, broken front teeth and loss of bone tissue that holds teeth in place.
What’s the right age for orthodontic treatment?
There is not one “right” chronological age for orthodontic treatment. Ideally, children should have an orthodontic evaluation no later than the age of 7. But there is an ideal time to begin treatment for an individual who needs it. Timing is determined by the type of problem that the child has or may be developing, and the child’s stage of dental development. Some patients may require tooth movement only, while others may need help with guiding the growth of their jaws, or to correct a sucking habit or abnormal swallowing pattern that can re-shape the bone.
What if my child is older than 7 – is it too late for a check-up?
If your child is older than 7, it is not too late for a check-up. Should treatment be needed, keep in mind that many patients begin treatment between the ages of 9 and 16, depending on their physiological development and treatment needs. Orthodontists are usually able to treat most conditions successfully.
Should we wait to see the orthodontist until my child has all of his/her permanent teeth?
No. Waiting until all the permanent teeth have come in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, could make correction of some orthodontic problems more difficult. Some things cannot be accomplished once the face and jaws are no longer growing.
In-person consultation with real doctors
You need to visit our office for a complimentary evaluation to determine if Orthodontics is right for you. After sending treatment instructions, and mold of your teeth, advanced computer technology is used to translate these instructions in a sequence of finely calibrated aligners — as few as 12 or as many as 48. Each aligner is worn for about two weeks and only taken out to eat, brush and floss. As you replace each aligner with the next, your teeth will begin to move gradually — week-by-week until the final alignment prescribed is attained. If any adjustments are needed you will be informed. Before you know it you will have attained the smile of your dreams!!