Education Benefits of Treatment
Orthodontics can improve a person’s self-image and boost self-esteem through better esthetics and a more attractive smile. Not only can orthodontic treatment benefit social and career success, it can also improve a person’s general outlook on life.
Prevent Tooth Problems
Improved esthetics is not the only reason to seek orthodontic treatment. Crooked and crowded teeth are difficult to clean and maintain. Alignment of the teeth can help alleviate or prevent such problems as tooth decay, gum disease, bone destruction and eventual tooth loss.
An improper bite can contribute to chewing difficulties, abnormal wear of tooth surfaces and dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Left untreated, these orthodontic problems may become worse and more difficult to correct.
While healthy teeth can be moved at almost any age, there are some important benefits of early treatment. The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that all children have an orthodontic evaluation no later than age 7. This early visit allows the orthodontist to:
- Advise parents whether or not orthodontic treatment is indicated
- Recommend the most suitable type of treatment for the child
- Determine the most appropriate time to begin such treatment
While some orthodontic problems are best treated early, others should be deferred until more permanent teeth are in place.
Early orthodontic treatment (which may include special appliances and/or partial braces) can be beneficial in many ways:
- Guide incoming permanent teeth into desirable positions
- Improve the width of the upper and lower dental arches
- Decrease risk of trauma (accidents) to protruded front teeth
- Correct harmful oral habits such as thumb- or finger-sucking
- Reduce or eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems
- Improve personal appearance and self-esteem
- Potentially simplify and/or shorten treatment time for later corrective orthodontics
- Reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
- Guide jaw growth