For years, braces have been a rite of passage for many teens. New trends, however, suggest that kids younger than ten should be undergoing or investigating orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth and correct bad bites. Dr. Norman is an advocate for early orthodontic intervention and urges parents to set up evaluations in order to develop orthodontic treatment plans for her youngest patients.
Most teenagers got braces after a "wait and see" period was determined by their dentist or orthodontist. The "wait and see" practice regarding kids and braces was a long-held belief that it was better to wait and not intervene with orthodontic treatment, in the hope that teeth would fall into place as the patient’s jaw developed and grew. This practice usually resulted in the patient having to get braces anyway, and, at times other, more serious interventions.
By consulting with an orthodontist as early as five or six years old instead of the wait and see approach allows orthodontists and dentists to gain excellent insight as to how the child’s teeth and bite will develop. In some cases, patients may be able to avoid having to wear braces entirely and instead can have the necessary corrections made through wearing retainers that help to direct the growth of the jaw. During this evaluation period, a detailed record can be established, along with a plan in order to accommodate school schedules, sports, and other activities. This also a major benefit as it helps parents plan financially for future treatments.
Many times early orthodontic treatment can help young patients who are suffering from headaches, or loud breathing, or snoring. These symptoms are an indication that a child’s bite may be off, causing pain or even sleep apnea. Treatments involving orthodontics can help correct the bite, eliminate pain, and allow the patient to get a good night’s sleep.
Many adults think that braces and orthodontics are just for kids and that their only option to fix their smile and bite is porcelain veneers or other expensive cosmetic dental treatments. However, most adults find orthodontic treatments can help correct their bite, relieve pain, and help give them the smile they’ve always wanted.
Questions about orthodontics for you or your child? Dr. Norman would love to schedule a consultation with you today. Call 425.212.1975 to get scheduled!