Why do I need orthodontics?

Usually your dentist will inform you of the need to see an orthodontist if a problem exists. However, you do not need a referral in order to see an orthodontist, particularly if you are able to identify the existence of any of the following indications of a bad bite:

  • Some teeth don’t meet at all.
  • Baby teeth falling out too early or very late.
  • The centers of the top and bottom front teeth don’t line up.
  • Often biting the cheek or roof of the mouth.
  • Finger sucking or tongue sucking habit continuing after 6 years of age.
  • Difficulty chewing or biting with teeth that don’t meet evenly on both sides.
  • Teeth wearing unevenly.
  • Jaws that shift off center when the teeth bite together.
  • Embarrassing teeth or smile often hidden by hands.
  • Top front teeth protrude or are “bucked”.
    Protruded Upper Teeth
  • Top front teeth cover more than 25 percent of the bottom front teeth when the back teeth are biting together.
    Deep Overbite
  • Top front teeth grow in behind the bottom front teeth.
  • A space exists between the top and bottom front teeth with the back teeth biting together.
  • Crowded, overlapped, misplaced teeth or extra teeth.
  • Excessive spaces between teeth that persist after the top permanent canine teeth appear. Excessive Spacing

What will I accomplish with orthodontic treatment?

Better appearance of teeth, smile and face.
An even bite for improved jaw alignment and function.
Improved self-esteem and self-confidence.
Cleaner, healthier teeth.

At what age may I start my treatment?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children be seen by an orthodontist at the age of 7 years. This will allow the child’s growth and changing dentition to be monitored, as well as identify and intercept potential problems early. However, you are never too old to start orthodontic treatment, and people of all ages can reap the benefits. Treatment may take a little while longer in adults, but the end result is just as pleasing.

What are the potential benefits of early orthodontic treatment?

Influence growth of the jaws in a positive manner.
Improve the width of the dental arches.
Reduce or eliminate the need to extract permanent teeth.
Reduce or eliminate the need for jaw surgery.
Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth.
Correct harmful oral habits.
Improve self-image related to appearance.
Preserve or gain space for erupting permanent teeth.
Simplify and shorten treatment time for definitive orthodontic treatment.
Increase stability of final treatment results.
Reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth.
Improve speech development.
Help eliminate breathing problems.
Guide permanent teeth into more favorable positions.
Improve lip closure.
Reduce potential for damage to the jaw joints.

Can adults be successfully treated?

More and more adults are becoming aware of the fact that orthodontic treatment is not restricted to children.

Regardless of a person’s age, orthodontic treatment is usually a change for the better. The mechanics involved in the movement of teeth are essentially the same in adults as in children. Gaps between teeth, crowding, protruding front teeth and teeth in abnormal positions are problems that may be corrected in the adult by orthodontic treatment.

However, because an adult’s facial bones are no longer growing, certain conditions cannot be resolved with braces alone. Sometimes, surgery is required to obtain the correct result. The health of teeth, gums and supporting bone, as well as jaw relationships, are key factors in determining the prospects of improving one’s appearance through orthodontic treatment.

Can orthodontics improve one’s self-esteem?

Although dental health concerns are frequently the primary reason for orthodontic treatment, treatment is also initiated for the patient’s emotional well-being. For example, first impressions are most often based on the appearance of a person’s face, mouth and teeth.

Research has proven that children and adults who believe their teeth are unattractive may suffer from a lack of self-esteem and confidence. Dr. Joyce Brothers, a leading psychologist, has said the need for acceptance is something we never outgrow. An adult who feels unattractive because of crooked teeth may cover his or her mouth when speaking or laughing and may feel self-conscious in social situations. Orthodontics has the ability to improve this.