How do I know if I need orthodontic work?

Crooked and crowded teeth affect the daily lives of many people. The inability to smile to comfortably prevents them from living their lives to the maximum. Lack of confidence in a smile will translate to a general lack of confidence, which could adverse affect their career and relationships. Orthodontic treatment helps by straightening crooked teeth and improving their looks. The bite is improved and better arrangement of teeth will help the patient maintain oral hygiene better. Crooked teeth trap food particles and can result in tooth decay or gum disease.

The best person for advice regarding orthodontics is your dentist who specializes in orthodontics in Plano. He will give you a thorough dental exam with full medical and dental history. Impressions of your teeth will be taken and plaster models will be prepared. The dentist will then arrive at a diagnosis based on the findings from x-rays, photographs, etc. The type orthodontic treatment needed will be determined by the dentist after consulting with you. Some orthodontic problems require surgery for correction, while others may need maxillofacial appliances for the best results. He will then refer you to an orthodontist if needed.

The following are some of the findings you can check in the mirror to identify an orthodontic problem.

  • The upper teeth are placed too forward over lower teeth, especially when the lower lip gets trapped in between upper and lower front teeth
  • Lower teeth are placed in front of upper teeth
  • There is a gap in between front or side teeth when back teeth are brought together
  • When the midline of the upper and lower front teeth do not match
  • When there are spaces in between front or side teeth due to missing teeth or discrepancy in the size between teeth and jaws
  • When there is crowding of teeth
  • When there is excessive gum being shown when smiling (gummy smile)
  • If a single tooth or few teeth are out of line

Adults of any age can undergo orthodontic treatment provided their gums are healthy and they can maintain proper oral hygiene. Taking your kid for an orthodontic consultation by the age of 7 would be a good idea regardless of the presence or absence of an orthodontic problem. The proper age to start treatment depends on the individual. Normally children aged 9-14 can undergo orthodontic treatment provided they have some permanent teeth. The duration of orthodontic treatment needed can be reduced if steps are taken at the right time.

Some of the orthodontic problems you can look for in a child are:

  • Loss of baby teeth at irregular intervals. Baby teeth that don’t fall of naturally can sometimes cause the permanent tooth to erupt in an unnatural position.
  • Child exhibits difficulty in chewing normally
  • Mouth breathing, thumb sucking, nail biting, biting on pencils or other objects
  • Jaws that deviate upon opening and closing
  • Lower teeth hitting the roof of the mouth
  • Lower lip getting trapped in between upper and lower front teeth.(lip trap)
  • Crowding, misaligned teeth
  • Lack of harmony between teeth and jaws etc

The dentist will perform routine cleaning of teeth and will fill all your decayed teeth before treatment commences. You should ensure that your oral hygiene remains optimum in the duration of treatment. Pre-existing gum disease should be treated to reduce complications.

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