Demand for orthodontic treatment amongst children, teens, and adults continues to rise. It’s one of the most popular dental treatments available and it delivers some of the most dramatic changes to your smile, your facial appearance, and your confidence … and therefore, and this is no exaggeration … your life.
Studies have also shown that when children are teased about their teeth, it makes them awkward, even scared, during social interactions. The same study showed that children with an increased overbite or spaces between their front teeth have more significant social and emotional issues than children with well-aligned teeth.
Having crooked teeth not only has detrimental effects on your mental health, but it can trigger all types of problems with your physical health, including headaches to hearing issues and digestive ailments. Even mood swings and poor self-esteem.
Why do some people have crooked teeth? There are a few reasons...
- Genetics – Just like you can’t choose your hair color or eye color, you can’t predetermine you tooth color, size, shape, nor alignment. Often children will inherit one parent’s larger-sized teeth with another parent’s smaller jaw, resulting in a crowded smile. When you reverse this scenario – small teeth in a wider jaw – it results in a spaced-out smile.
- Myofunctional Habits – These are associated with muscles of the mouth, like those involved with thumb-sucking, tongue thrusting, & reverse swallowing. These habits may cause under-development of the jaw.
- Mouth Breathing – When nose-breathing is restricted or blocked, either temporarily or long-term, people become “mouth breathers.” It contributes to incorrect jaw development, crooked teeth, facial deformities, and poor growth.
- Nail Biting – Believe it or not, your fingernails are really tough and put up a lot of resistance when you bite them. It can cause teeth to move inward or twist. Gaps may become wider.
- Missing Teeth – Teeth act as placeholders for each other. When one is lost, the neighboring teeth shift to fill the space left behind.
Three top reasons people consider orthodontics:
- improve smile esthetics and overall face appearance
- correct the way the upper and lower teeth meet when speaking or chewing
- eliminate malocclusions (bad bites) that could cause teeth to chip or crack.
What is the best age to start orthodontic treatment?
While every smile is different and every family presents a different situation, there are some general guidelines that we go by when determining when a child is ready for orthodontic treatment. It’s based on age, attitude, case complexity, self-esteem, and more.
We recommend that your child should come into our practice for their first dentition evaluation around age seven. We’ll assess growth, estimate future growth, and take x-rays to determine permanent teeth placement. We’ll do a “bite test” to see how their jaws fit together now and project how this may change as they grow. We’ll also discuss home care as with orthodontics it’s even more critical that teeth and braces are kept clean with increased attention and dedication.
Your child’s early evaluation will allow us to catch any serious issues like malocclusion (the way teeth on the upper mandible fit together with teeth in the lower jaw), a crossbite (when some of the upper teeth are inside the lower teeth instead of all on the outside), a narrow jaw (upper crowded front teeth and/or the side and back teeth biting inside of the lower teeth), or protruding teeth (teeth that are aligned much further outwards than those in the other tooth arch – usually the upper arch).
To ensure your child doesn’t outgrow any corrections, we don’t begin treatment until about age 10 to 14 or later, depending on the treatment plan. But every child is different. We could start earlier or later. But before we determine the “start date,” we’ll discuss options, reasons, and our thoughts so that together, we can make the treatment decision that is perfect for you and your child.
One of the important things we want to keep in mind is self-esteem. In our world, personal appearance has always been an important social aspect – either benefitting us or hindering us in our relationships, our search for employment, and more. And it’s no secret that this is a vital part of our kids’ world too. These are interesting points:
- By about 10 years old, kids understand that their physical appearance is a key asset.
- Uniformity in appearance expectations is front and center for all of us.
- Social pressure regarding physical appearance affects body image, self-esteem, and mental health during adolescence.
- Changing schools increases the consequences of non-acceptance of physical appearance.
- Discussion of social norms with children can be helpful as it broadens their perspective and may result in more-positive self-perception.
- Straight teeth have become a beauty ideal.
- Outward appearance has an impact on self-identity.
- People who do not have “perfect teeth” can encounter prejudice in childhood.
- Children and adults who are uncomfortable with their dentition will cover their mouths when they smile or laugh to avoid embarrassment.
There is no one choice for everybody, so call A.P.S Dental Center today. We’ll complete an assessment and present all of your options to you. Together we’ll choose the best way to make your smile dreams come true! Call now! (848) 235-9937