Orthodontics is the dental specialty that focuses on the development, prevention, and correction of irregularities of the teeth, bite, and jaws. Orthodontists also have specialized training in facial abnormalities and disorders of the jaw. A parent may consult an orthodontist after receiving a referral from their child's general dentist. However, the American Dental Association recommends that every child receive an orthodontic evaluation by the age of seven.
Any orthodontic problem may be classified as a malocclusion, or "bad bite." The following problems may be helped or minimized with proper orthodontic treatment:
In most cases, the ideal age for braces and other orthodontic treatments is between 10 and 14 years of age. Moving and correcting the alignment of the teeth follows the same biological and physical process regardless of age. However, an adult mouth must overcome already-positioned facial bones and jaw structure. Thus, overcoming most types of malocclusions may require more than one type of orthodontic treatment for adults and can sometimes involve jaw surgery.
Braces, also called fixed orthodontic appliances, generally come in three varieties:
All three types use wires to move the teeth to the desired position. Clear, removable teeth aligners may also be an option. Ask your orthodontist.
The following recommendations will help to eliminate, or reduce, any oral health problems while your child's teeth are in braces:
Ask your dentist about the application of a flouride varnish around the braces to minimize white spots on the teeth after the braces come off.
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