People of all ages see an orthodontist for a wide variety of reasons. Some would simply like to improve the aesthetics of their smiles while others suffer from more serious conditions. Some oral health issues might wait, but others need to be treated right away.
Assessing the severity of malocclusion or crooked teeth should be done while erring on the side of caution. After all, you wouldn’t want to underestimate the potential effects of a dental problem and suffer worse for it in the long run. Patients must carefully consider some important details, such as those listed below, in order to assess their need for a dental specialist.
The patient’s age:
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a check-up with an orthodontic specialist by the age of 7. Most of these patients may not need any treatment prior to the emergence of the majority of the permanent teeth, around the age of 12. However, there are several conditions that can exist that are much better treated sooner rather than later.
But orthodontic treatment is definitely not just for kids! In fact in America, one in five orthodontic patients are adults. Many treatment options now exist that can make orthodontics much easier to live with than in the past.
Is the issue functional or cosmetic?
Every patient has their own specific needs. A broad spectrum exists where some issues are purely esthetic while others may be critical for proper growth and development, function, speech or long term health.
Determining exactly what conditions exist and when they might best be treated can best be accomplished by a thorough clinical examination. Looks can be deceiving. Often times what can easily be seen or just how a smile “looks” does not tell the whole story.
Have you suffered an injury?
If you have had an injury that has damaged or resulted in the loss of a single tooth or a group of teeth and/or affected the alignment of your teeth then orthodontic treatment will often be involved in restoring normalcy.
Teeth that have been avulsed or knocked out, can often be saved if evaluated and stabilized quickly enough.
Do you find it difficult or painful to eat?
All too often, dental issues arise without warning. This can make determining their cause difficult. Infected gums and abscessed teeth are among the many dental ailments that need to be examined as soon as possible.
Finding solutions to these dental problems is easy with the help of an experienced orthodontist. He will tailor-make a treatment plan meant to have you back to eating normally in no time.
It’s not just about straight teeth:
Orthodontics also helps with jaw or joint (TMJ) pain, speech, difficulty or pain when eating, and wear from clenching or grinding. Treatment for gum recession or disease and food impaction are available as well as relief from sleep apnea.
Patients often benefit from the ease of cleaning, preparation restorative procedures, such as implants, and long-term space saving techniques after the early loss of baby teeth. Overall, orthodontics improves the self-confidence of patients.
In the end, if you still are uncertain if you or your child might benefit from orthodontic treatment there is a simple answer. Contact an orthodontist for a full evaluation of your situation and he will gladly review what all of your options may be in detail.