Orthodontist are specialized dentists whose expertise is in the field of straightening teeth or guiding jaws to their correct size, to create smiles in harmony with the face. Many parents are still unsure of when to see an orthodontist.
It is easy to see the benefits of having straight teeth ie: more confident smiles, teeth easier to clean etc . But there are also the hidden benefits ie: preventing wear or further teeth sensitivity from worsening from uncorrected deep bites or crowded/ spaced teeth.
Correcting narrow jaws early in children helps make breathing easier through the nose, allowing for more normal growth of the lower jaws so overbites do not worsen over time.
It helps make more room for the adult teeth which have not come through the gums. A shortage of space has been known to lead to adult canine teeth erupting in impacted positions far from where they normally erupt. This can lead to permanent damage to other adult front teeth, not to mention a very long braces treatment time.
From an orthodontic treatment context, narrow jaws, small jaws, overbites and underbites can be much easier to correct at a younger age than as an adult. It may mean that if left till as an adult, certain compromises may need to be made in the smile and teeth correction.
Overbites as an adult are at a risk of getting worse, if there is bleeding or unhealthy gums that are not managed well, or where their lower lip gets trapped behind the upper teeth. We often see adults seeking a better smile, because they have noticed their teeth becoming more crooked recently. In some instances with crowded teeth, outside biting teeth can be pushed further outside of their normal positions, resulting in permanent wear of the gums around the teeth and the appearance of the teeth getting longer.
With improved awareness, parents can then start to make an informed decision about the orthodontic care of their children, and have peace of mind about when to see an orthodontist. Our Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic consultation from the age of 7. If in doubt, bring your child in for a complimentary orthodontic consultation, so we can start a conversation about what we see.