The Many Problems of Crooked Teeth
Crooked teeth are typically genetic, but they can also be caused by injuries or prolonged sucking on thumbs or pacifiers. Whatever their origin, they might lead to long-term health issues, including gum disease, breathing difficulties and mouth infections. And those infections can induce pneumonia, cardiac disease, and strokes.
Teeth that aren’t aligned make it hard to chew. A person with crooked teeth could have an overbite or underbite, either of which can damage oral tissue over time. Also, crooked teeth can crack or chip more easily, and they’re more difficult to clean.
Then there are the self-esteem concerns. When adolescents going through a self-conscious phase don’t have straight teeth, they often feel uncomfortable, causing them to laugh, smile or speak less. We want your child to feel confident in their smile.
Orthodontics can solve every problem mentioned above. But when is the right time to begin orthodontics for your child?
For years, most kids waited until they were 13 or so to begin treatments. Today, it’s more common for younger children to do so. As soon as children start sprouting permanent teeth, which often happens at age six or seven, they might be ready for orthodontics.
Kids can’t get full braces until their permanent teeth are all in place, which occurs around age 12. But if they’ve had orthodontic prep work, they’ll likely have braces for a shorter period of time. Children’s orthodontics involves devices like palatal expanders, which make more space and reshape the jaws.
At a younger age, a child’s mouth tissues are easier to move, and the bones are more flexible. And with less oral crowding, childhood tooth decay is less of a threat.
Primary “baby” teeth are designed to function throughout the childhood years. Some of your child’s baby teeth are not lost until the age of 12. They help in the development of face and jaws and support facial structures and tissues. They are also important for chewing food to aid in proper digestion through your child’s “growing” years.