Orthodontic braces has always been a very popular dental service especially for children. The use of orthodontic braces can straighten our teeth, fix issues with the way our teeth fit together, and cosmetically enhance our smiles. Orthodontic braces are not just used for cosmetic reasons. Having straight teeth will improve dental hygiene and decrease chance of developing tooth decay or periodontal disease. Orthodontic braces can also help correct speech issues like a lisp.
Do I Need Orthodontic Braces?
The average age most children will see their dentist or orthodontist regarding orthodontic braces is right around age 7. In general, your family dentist will be able to evaluate when it is the appropriate time to see an orthodontist. If you see them every 6 months like expected orthodontic braces will not be a surprise. Orthodontic braces treatment is determined by the type of problems each patient presents with. Certain issues can be treated prior to all of the primary teeth coming out while others must wait until all the adult teeth are in. Obviously this is very common in adult orthodontic braces treatment.
–Early loss of primary teeth. Sometimes there will be a lag between loss of primary teeth and eruption of permanent teeth. This could be due to early tooth loss from tooth decay or genetics. Our primary teeth act as space savers and if they are not present the permanent teeth will find it harder or easier to erupt into the mouth.
–Overcrowding of teeth or crooked teeth. This may seem like strictly a cosmetic issue but it is not. Overcrowding or crooked teeth will cause issues with dental hygiene issues as well as increased incidence of tooth decay and periodontal disease. Crowded teeth is the #1 issue addressed by orthodontic braces.
–Too Much Space Between Teeth. Over crowding is not the only issue that can cause problems. Some patients may be missing a tooth due to genetic factors or thru loss or could have proportionally small teeth. Luckily, in most cases too much space generally makes orthodontic braces treatment a bit easier.
–Jaw Development Issues. This can include a recessed lower jaw or a protruding lower jaw. Either of these are significant developmental issues that may need surgery to correct. You may experience popping or shifting of your jaws as well. This may be corrected with orthodontic braces.
–Teeth Alignment Issues. This can include the molars not lining up properly which may result in you biting your inner cheeks often while chewing or it may be an overbite or underbite. An excessive overbite may cause your lower front teeth to cause trauma to the tissue on the roof of your mouth making chewing/eating extremely painful. All of these alignment issues will require orthodontic braces to correct the situation. This can also cause nutrition issues as you may have a difficult time chewing food which could lead to nutritional deficiencies.
–Thumb Sucking History. A child who is a thumb sucker will likely have issues that need correcting via orthodontic braces. Generally, the upper teeth will flare out following the shape of the thumb.
Orthodontic Braces Evaluation
The American Dental Association statistics show most orthodontic braces treatment occurs between the ages of 8 and 14. Modern orthodontists have learned that sometimes treatment needs to occur in 2 phases. The first phase will make some adjustments while primary teeth are still in place setting up final phase treatment once all the permanent teeth have fully erupted. Orthodontics like dentistry is a very personalized treatment. Every patient will be different in approach and final treatment. It is recommended that most children be evaluated by age 7 to make orthodontic braces treatment easier and more efficient.
In today’s orthodontics, patients have choices. Gone are the days of bulky brackets and braces. Modern orthodontic braces come in many different colors as well as ones that match your teeth. Another advancement is invisalign orthodontic retainers. These clear retainers are made of a smooth, clear plastic. Another advantage to invisalign that they can be removed for dental hygiene as well as for eating (no dietary restrictions).
Do I Need Orthodontic Braces? Conclusion
Orthodontic braces are a wonderful tool for both function and cosmetics. Both kids and adults can enjoy straighter smiles for a lifetime. See your dentist today for an orthodontic braces evaluation.