As great as having straight teeth and a beautiful smile is, it’s not even the main objective of orthodontic treatment. Orthodontics is a dental specialty that uses braces and other dental appliances to correct misalignment of the teeth and jaws that can cause joint problems. Orthodontic care can be as important to your long-term oral health as having teeth cleaned and cavities filled. Fortunately, a healthy smile is a beautiful smile and orthodontic treatment can help you achieve both.
Early indicators of problems
If you or your child is experiencing any of the following, there’s a good chance you might need orthodontic treatment:
- Breathing with an open mouth
- Difficulty chewing
- Speech problems
- Grinding teeth
- Jaws that click or pop
- Thumb or finger sucking
- Permanent teeth that overlap or are overcrowded
- Biting the roof of the mouth or cheek
- Any abnormality of the bite
These are indicative of, or can lead to, problems that affect oral health and function. While your dentist can help identify these issues, only an orthodontist is a specialist with the formal training to treat these issues with braces.
Even in the absence of these indicators, dissatisfaction with appearance alone can be reason enough to consider treatment, given that it has no unhealthy side effects. Better health and function almost always go hand in hand with a more attractive smile.
When should I consider treatment?
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children receive their first orthodontic exam by age 7, even earlier if problems are apparent. Early treatment of some severe cases can stop and reverse problems before they become worse and require even more involved treatment. In most cases, however, we simply monitor children’s development starting at age 7, so that we can begin treatment when their mouth has reached the optimum point in its development. There is no charge during this period of observation, until a child is ready to begin treatment.
Many people mistakenly assume that braces are only for younger people, but this is simply not true. Individuals of all ages can benefit from treatment with braces.
Regardless of your age, if you’ve been living with problems resulting from a bad bite or would just like to improve the appearance of your smile, braces can help. And because of advances in adult orthodontics in recent years, treatment is now easier and less intrusive than ever before.
Regardless of the situation, choosing an orthodontic specialist for your braces is important to getting the best possible results, not only aesthetically, but for the health and longevity of your teeth. With so much at stake, why wouldn’t you choose a highly qualified specialist?