Orthodontics is traditionally known as the science of “straightening teeth”. And while orthodontics can definitely do this, it can do a lot more. The end goal of orthodontics is certainly to have a pleasing smile with teeth that are all aligned. But, orthodontics also makes the jaw healthy and prevents or decreases jaw joint problems, headaches, and neck aches.
Orthodontics used to be done at approximately 12 to 13 years of age. But in recent years, it has been found to be a greater advantage to start treatment earlier. For example, many parents will bring in their children with multiple complaints that they would like to see handled. And often, these children are only 4 to 10 years old. They complain that their children are grinding their teeth, snoring, having a large overbite, or even sleep apnea (cessation of breathing at intervals during the night). These are things that can be treated effectively even at this age with some accurate diagnosis and appliances the child can wear, which will reverse these conditions. Later on when the child is 11 to 13 years of age modern braces can be placed which are less conspicuous than those of earlier times.
Wearing these appliances at 4 to 10 years of age also can reduce the time actual braces need to be worn and also lead to greater stability and less relapse of the teeth after the braces are removed. Often the appliances, which are receptively worn by most kids, have been found to create space for the crooked teeth to be moved to. Thus, the appliances have done most of the work in the early years, creating a situation where the permanent teeth can be moved into a favorable position with greater ease. This can also be applied to adults but works faster on a child who is still growing. As a result kids with overbites, underbites, or crossbites can be helped through these means.
Adults can be helped with all of the above treatments as well. Besides wanting more pleasing smiles and straighter teeth, adults frequently have other conditions that can be helped by orthodontics. Some of these conditions are pain or “popping and clicking” in the jaw joint area (known as TMJ), grinding, headaches, a neck aches. Again, proper diagnosis and treatment can help these conditions as well as giving a pleasing straight smile.
Please call our office for more details. (314)487-0052