1. Why is orthodontic treatment so important?
Orthodontic treatment is used to fix malocclusions or misalignments of the teeth. When teeth are not aligned properly they are more susceptible to bacteria build-up, cavities, and periodontal disease. Teeth in misalignment, cannot be cleaned properly and have an increased risk of mobility and eventual tooth loss. Teeth in malocclusion are more susceptible to enamel wearing away, difficulty with speaking and chewing, and extra stress on the bone and gums supporting the teeth. Without orthodontic treatment, these problems can become much worse.
Orthodontic treatment creates a bite or occlusion that is in alignment, making the teeth fit together the way they were meant to. This greatly decreases the risk of future dental problems and enables the teeth to function as they’re supposed to.
2. What causes orthodontic problems?
Many times malocclusions are inherited or genetic problems that cannot be prevented. People often notice crowded teeth, spacing issues, protrusions, extra or missing teeth, and jaw growth problems that are genetic issues. Other orthodontic issues may be caused by thumb-sucking, pacifier use, periodontal disease, accidents, or the early or late loss of baby teeth.
3. What is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist attends two additional years of specialized education after they complete their general dentistry requirements. These extra two years prepare the dentist to diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities to correctly align teeth and jaws.
4. Why should my child see a dentist at such a young age?
The American Association of Orthodontists’ recommends that all children are screened by age 7! This is because some common malocclusions of the teeth and jaw may be reduced while the bones of the mouth and face are still developing. Remember many females are finished growing around the time their second molars are in place so it is important to act early!
5. Why have I heard that thumb sucking and a pacifier are harmful to a child’s teeth?
Thumbsucking or a pacifier habit can become problematic if a child continues the habit for too long. We will evaluate your child’s teeth and discuss methods to help you break your child’s habit.
6. How come I was told that my child needs x-rays?
Radiographs or x-rays are a tool that helps your doctor determine a custom treatment plan for your child. Often times a panoramic radiograph is utilized to view all of the teeth. This includes all of your child’s baby and adult teeth in one photo. The panoramic image also shows the upper and lower jaws, the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) and the sinuses above the upper teeth. Your doctor is able to detect many dental anomalies with this image as well. Early detection of any dental anomaly results in the best possible outcome.
Radiographs are an important aspect of treatment when recommended by the doctor and are imperative for proper diagnosing. Please ask your doctor if you have specific questions regarding radiographs.
7. How do I make sure my child isn’t afraid of the dentist?
Always emphasize that dental visits are a positive experience. Explain that visiting the dentist helps maintain good oral health. By fostering a positive attitude, you’ll increase the chances that your child will see a dentist regularly throughout their life.