What is orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment commonly uses fixed or removable braces to treat misalignment of the teeth or jaws, or sometimes both. Common problems that are corrected by an orthodontist include:
- Crooked teeth
- Protruding front teeth
- Cessation of habits, like thumb sucking and correcting the bite once this has stopped.
Another key aspect of orthodontic treatment is managing the development of the teeth. This means making sure all the teeth are present, in the right location at the right time, and developing normally. If not, then an orthodontist will often make recommendations or plan treatment to ensure development is normal.
Some items to consider before seeking orthodontic treatment
- The nature of the problem
some orthodontic issues are better treated early, and others later. For instance, thumb-sucking habits and crossbites are better managed as early as 8 to avoid less desirable permanent effects on the teeth and bite.
- The impact of the problem on your child’s overall wellbeing
for example, if a problem like protruding teeth is having a negative impact on a child’s self-esteem (e.g. not smiling, bullying at school, feeling self-conscious) - then this can be treated as early as 8 years old.
- Your child’s dental health
before starting any orthodontic treatment, it is essential the teeth and gums are healthy. If the orthodontist identifies an issue at your child’s examination, they refer to the dentist/ therapist to stabilise his/her oral health before starting any orthodontic treatment.
- The cooperation of your child
do you think your child will be able to complete the whole orthodontic timescale without undue stress to them, or damage to the equipment? Some children will find it harder than others to adapt to orthodontic treatment.
Our Orthodontic Team
At Happy Kids Dental an orthodontist will always carry out your or your child’s treatment.
Orthodontics is a speciality within dentistry. You trust your heart to a cardiologist; your skin to a dermatologist; similarly, you should trust your child’s teeth alignment to a specialist orthodontist.
An orthodontist will have initially attended university to qualify as a dentist, and worked as a dentist for a few years too. He/she would then have attended an internationally recognised three-year programme to gain academic and clinical training to specialise as an orthodontist.
A consultant orthodontist is a term used in the UK. Here, they would have trained for an additional two years to gain further experience in the management of more complex orthodontic problems that often require multi-speciality input.
The American Association of Orthodontists and the British Dental Association recommend that children should have their first consultation with an orthodontist no later than the age of 7. By then, a child will have a mixture of primary and permanent teeth and the orthodontist will be able to recognise a misalignment at an early stage.
However, if your child is younger than 7 and you have concerns about the alignment of their teeth, consider scheduling the appointment earlier - your orthodontist will be able to advise the best solution for your child.
If your child is 8 or older, consider having their bite checked by an orthodontist.