Frequently Asked Questions ...
Is ORTHODONTICS just braces?
Orthodontics is more than the wearing of braces, however these are certainly key in the treatment of most conditions. Orthodontics is the specialty within dentistry that focuses on the prevention and correction of irregularities of the teeth, bite, and jaws. Typically it is children who receive most orthodontic attention, however orthodontic assessment and treatment is becoming increasingly popular for adults too. More important than your age at treatment is the health of your gums and bone supporting your teeth. In fact currently my oldest orthodontic patient is 60 years of age!
How do I know if my child is in need of orthodontic treatment?
Even though the front teeth look straight there might still be potential problems. Some of the obvious symptoms of orthodontic problems include crooked teeth, gaps between teeth or overlapping teeth.
For example, when your child bites all the way down with their back teeth...
- Do the front top teeth line up with the bottom?
- Do the top teeth protrude out away from the bottom teeth?
- Do the top front teeth cover more than 50% of the bottom teeth?
- Are the top teeth behind the bottom teeth?
Other obvious symptoms relate to jaw alignment. If the jaw shifts off center when your child bites down or if you see any misalignment or shifting of the jaw, there may be a skeletal problem which could require early orthodontic intervention.
How old should my child be before seeing the Orthodontist?
It is recommended that children be evaluated by around age 7. Early detection of some orthodontic problems is especially important so that prompt corrective action can be taken. This can avoid the need for more difficult treatment later on. It's also easier to correct many problems at this stage, as the teeth and jaw bone are still developing so the teeth and jaws are easier to guide into the proper positioning.
Does wearing braces hurt?
Wearing braces will probably make your teeth sore for a few days, but it is very unusual for there to be any pain. Nowadays braces are smaller and more comfortable, plus we use the latest technology and the highest quality of braces and orthodontic materials in order to minimise discomfort and reduce treatment time. An over-the-counter pain reliever will certainly resolve this discomfort.
Can I still have braces if I have missing teeth?
Yes you can, and in fact it is recommended. When teeth are missing, adjacent teeth may drift into the empty space. This will cause a functional, aesthetic or periodontal problem. Orthodontic treatment will correct and prevent these problems and will also provide proper alignment for your dentist to replace the missing teeth.