Orthodontics refers to the straightening of teeth, and not to the everyday care of your overall oral health. Many children will need to visit an orthodontist, as crooked teeth are not just unsightly, but can actually damage other teeth and cause problems with speaking and chewing food. If you have children, your family dentist can give you more information about their need for an orthodontist but note a few questions you might have about tooth straightening procedures for children, such as:
When should a child visit an orthodontist?
A child should have their mouth and teeth examined by a family doctor or dentist as often as they have other routine healthcare checkups, to ensure that their baby teeth are developing properly and that they do not have any deformities of the mouth or jaw. When it comes to actually straightening teeth, however, your family doctor or dentist can note when your child's permanent teeth are fully developed, and when an orthodontist may be able to discern any need to have those teeth straightened. Don't wait until a child is a teenager and it's obvious that their teeth are very crooked, as straightening those teeth when a child is younger may allow them to avoid years of having to talk or eat with severely misaligned and uncomfortable teeth.
Will teeth straighten as a child grows?
It's highly unlikely that teeth will get any straighter as a child gets older; instead, they may actually get more crowded and more crooked as their teeth get larger over time. Erosion from teeth grinding against each other can also cause even more crookedness, as some teeth then get smaller and more worn. If it's been recommended that your child visit an orthodontist, don't put off this visit, but have their teeth fixed as soon as possible, to avoid further damage.
Will a child miss school because of getting orthodontic care?
Getting braces installed or getting the mouth fitted for an alignment tray is not typically painful, doesn't usually require shots, and rarely involves the need to remove teeth. In turn, there is usually no reason for a child to miss school because of getting orthodontic care, either for their initial appointment or for tightening of braces and refitting of trays. The only "downtime" they may experience would be for those appointments themselves if you cannot schedule them for afterschool hours or for a weekend. Otherwise, your child should be able to attend school, play sports, and go about their normal activities without interruption.Share
27 November 2017
As a retired dentist, I work with charities which visit developing countries and educate children about dental care. It gives me great satisfaction to revisit these communities and see how proud the children are of their efforts. I am acutely aware that good dental hygiene can help prevent a range of serious conditions when these children become older. I started this blog because it greatly distresses me that many people in Australia do not seem to care for their teeth as much as children in these poor communities. This is happening despite ready access to items like toothbrushes and toothpaste which are luxuries in the places I visit. It is my hope that this blog encourages you not to take dental health for granted. My greatest wish is that you can be as inspired as the children I see in my charity work. Please read on and enjoy.