Orthodontics FAQ

Most orthodontic problems (malocclusions) are inherited.Examples of these genetic problems are crowding, spacing, protrusion, extra or missing teeth, and some jaw growth problems.Other malocclusions are acquired as a result of thumb- or fingersucking,dental disease, accidents, the early or late loss of baby(primary) teeth, or other causes.

Orthodontic treatment creates a better bite, making teeth fit better, and decreases the risk of future, and potentially costly dental problems. Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. A malocclusion can cause tooth enamel to wear abnormally, difficulty in chewing and/or speaking, and excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissue. Without treatment,many problems simply become worse.

Also, properly aligned teeth enhance the facial profile and support the lips and are therefore essential in unlocking the true potential of one’s beauty.

The AAO recommends that your child get a check-up with an orthodontist at the first recognition of an orthodontic problem,but no later than age 7.

By then, your child has enough permanent teeth for an orthodontist to determine whether an orthodontic problem exists or is developing.

Putting off a check-up with an orthodontist until a child has lost all baby teeth could be a disservice.Some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they are found early.

A check-up no later than age 7 gives your orthodontist the opportunity to recommend the appropriate treatment at the appropriate time. If early treatment is in order, the orthodontist may be able to achieve results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have finished growing.

Age is not a consideration when it comes to orthodontic treatment. Healthy teeth can be moved at any age. Today, adults account for one in every five orthodontic patients. Thanks to the variety of “appliances” used by orthodontists, adults may be able to inconspicuously achieve the great smile they want. Advances in today’s orthodontic materials mean patients see the orthodontist only about once every six weeks during active treatment.

Orthodontic treatment averages less than two years, but can range from one to three years. When “active” treatment ends,retainers are prescribed for most patients to keep teeth in their new positions.

Source: AAO – American Association of Orthodontics

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