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Ask the Orthodontist: Common Questions about Braces

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If your child’s teeth are not developing properly, he or she is not alone. Many children require orthodontic treatment to help fix problems with their teeth and jaws. If your dentist feels that your child can benefit from an orthodontic evaluation, you may receive a referral to an orthodontist. You probably have a lot of questions about braces for kids and orthodontics in general. Find answers to common ones below.

What is Orthodontics Exactly?

Orthodontics is a dentistry specialty that deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of dental and facial abnormalities. An Orthodontist uses advanced corrective appliances to align teeth, jaws, and lips. Virtually any person with healthy tissues and bones is a candidate for orthodontist braces.

What Does Malocclusion Mean?

Malocclusion is a dental term that refers to crooked, misaligned, crowded, rotated, improperly spaced, or protruding teeth that do not fit together properly. Teeth and jaws must be in precise alignment for a person’s bite to be effective and aesthetically pleasing. Any deviation from the normal relationship between the two is considered a malocclusion.

What are the Causes of Malocclusions?

Most malocclusions are inherited, but some are due to other factors such as the following:

  • Premature loss of baby teeth
  • Thumb-sucking or tongue-thrusting habits
  • Accidents
  • Medical problems
  • Advanced dental disease

Are Crooked Teeth Likely to Correct themselves over Time?

Crooked teeth and other malocclusions are very unlikely to improve over time without treatment. In fact, they may get worse. Studies have proven that most orthodontic problems will get worse over time without treatment.

How will a Patient’s Continuing Growth Affect Orthodontic Problems?

Additional growth rarely works in favor of those with untreated orthodontic problems. Growth in the jaw can sometimes help an orthodontist optimize treatment outcomes when using devices such as orthodontist braces, but in many cases it exacerbates problems. So, early evaluation and possible treatment usually benefits patients. Many children gain better dental function and improve their appearance with braces for kids. Contact your dentist for more information.

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