When to see an Orthodontist?

Tuesday, 09 Oct 2018 Andrew Chang 286 hits Print it

When to see an Orthodontist?

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.

Hidden Benefits of straight teeth

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.

What can happen if crowded teeth, narrow jaws, small jaws, overbites or underbites are not fixed at the right 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.


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2 thoughts on “When to see an Orthodontist?”

  1. My child is 8 and have been told by our dentist, that she needs braces on top to correct her crossbite. Her lateral incisor on one side sits behind bottom lower lateral incisor. Need 2nd opinion.

    1. Hi Lisa, sometimes with instanding upper front teeth, this can change the way the lower jaw grows or can lead to increased tooth wear and/or tooth sensitivity to cold.
      If this is the case, earlier treatment can be beneficial before all the adult teeth come through. While braces is an option, our approach would be to use the simplest means to correct this ie: plates, expanders etc, especially if there are underlying narrow jaw problems. At the age of 8, kids manage very well with this and results are predictable.
      Braces are generally placed when all the adult teeth come through and offers the best control and results for moving teeth, though braces does not change the jaw sizes.

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