Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that deals with with the prevention and correction of irregularities of the teeth and jaws to help improve facial balance and your child's smile.
Orthodontic treatment will help your child by:
- guiding permanent teeth into the proper position
- improving lip closure
- preserving or gaining space for erupting permanent teeth
- reducing the potential for jaw joint damage
- reducing the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
- influencing proper jaw growth
- ensuring the proper width of dental arches
- improving eruption patterns
- lowering the risk of damage to protruded upper teeth
- shortening treatment time for later corrective orthodontics
An orthodontic problem is called a malocclusion, or "bad bite." Some causes of malocclusion include crowded teeth, extra teeth, missing teeth or misaligned jaws. Malocclusions can be both inherited and acquired. Acquired malocclusions can be caused by accidents, breathing disorders, early or late loss of baby teeth, or oral habits that are continued over a long period of time.
Patients of almost any age, but especially children, can benefit from treatment of orthodontic problems. Typically, full braces are worn between the ages of 10 and 14 when all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Early orthodontic intervention may begin as early as 4 years of age to help correct various dental and skeletal problems.