Braces Can Mean Healthier Teeth for Life
Earlier this year, we wrote about promoting good oral habits in your children to set them up for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Today, let’s talk about how orthodontic treatment actually promotes oral health in addition to creating a beautiful smile.
While there are orthodontic solutions such as Invisalign for adults – a treatment we offer – there is no getting around the fact that treatment during childhood can get your children started on the right foot to a lifetime of good dental health, and help ensure their visits to our Walnut Creek dental office are pleasant ones that don’t result in the need for serious treatments each time.
We see what happens when patients don’t receive orthodontic treatment. Crooked teeth are more difficult to keep clean, and they can create areas that are difficult to keep clean and allow plaque and tarter to accumulate. This can lead to periodontal disease and tooth decay. A bad bite can cause added stress to teeth and jaws, which can lead to premature and abnormal wear of the teeth. It also can lead to gum recession. Teeth that stick out too far are more prone to injury and breakage. We see this in adult patients, but our colleagues around the country who specialize in pediatric dentistry find these same problems in their young patients.
“People often think of gum recession as a problem only faced by adults, but severe alignment issues such as overbite can cause a child’s gums to recede,” says Dr. Nanna Ariaban of Polkadot Pediatric Dentistry in Alpharetta, Ga. “Kids with significant overjet are more apt to have their front teeth chipped, broken or knocked out while playing sports or engaging in physical activities.”
One study indicates that front teeth fractures occur by age 12 in 75 percent of children who have an uncorrected overjet of at least 6 millimeters, says Dr. Julie Kwon.
Undergoing orthodontic treatment during childhood is a good idea for several reasons. Orthodontists are trained in tooth movement and facial development, and they can use a child’s growth to their advantage when developing a treatment plan. Having your child treated by an orthodontist at the right age to correct certain problems such as severe crowding and underbite can prevent the need for tooth extraction or jaw surgery later in life.