Orthodontic treatment, such as braces, goes beyond just improving the appearance of a smile. Dr. Corwyn Hopke, owner of Hopke Orthodontics in Puyallup’s South Hill, explains that proper teeth alignment is crucial for maintaining a functional mouth, which ultimately contributes to a healthy lifestyle. Let’s delve deeper into the benefits of considering braces, regardless of age.
Q: When is the best time to get braces?
A: It is ideal to begin orthodontic treatment when all permanent teeth have erupted. Aligning teeth without access to permanent teeth is practically impossible. Additionally, it is advantageous to commence treatment during the pubertal growth spurt as it aids in directing and utilizing this growth to correct the bite. Luckily, these two occurrences typically coincide.
Q: When should children have their first consultation with an orthodontist?
A: We recommend scheduling an initial consultation with an orthodontist at the age of 7, or when permanent incisors start to erupt. Although very few children require treatment at this early stage, it is during this period that exceptions to the ideal treatment time may arise. There are four main reasons for initiating early treatment, commonly referred to as “Phase one” or “the health and safety phase.” This phase prioritizes the child’s health and safety.
1. To prevent damage: An anterior cross-bite, where upper teeth are positioned inside or behind lower teeth, can cause tooth and gum tissue damage. Early treatment can address this issue promptly.
2. To correct harmful habits: Thumbsucking, tongue thrusting, and other oral habits can lead to improper tooth positioning. Early intervention helps break such habits and guide proper tooth eruption.
3. To create space: In some cases, early treatment is necessary to make room for the proper eruption of permanent teeth.
4. To improve jaw growth: Certain jaw discrepancies, such as underbites or overbites, are best resolved during a child’s growing years.
By addressing these concerns early on, orthodontists like Dr. Hopke safeguard the child’s oral health and lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Q: Will braces hurt?
A: It is common to experience some discomfort when braces are first applied or adjusted. However, the discomfort generally subsides within a few days.
Q: How long does orthodontic treatment usually last?
A: The duration of treatment varies depending on the complexity of the case. On average, orthodontic treatment lasts between 1-3 years.
Q: Can adults benefit from braces?
A: Absolutely! It’s never too late to improve your smile and address any alignment issues. Nowadays, there are various discreet options available, such as clear aligners, that make orthodontic treatment more appealing to adult patients.
Understanding the importance of orthodontic treatment extends beyond achieving straight teeth. It plays a vital role in overall health and well-being. By consulting with an orthodontist and considering braces, individuals can pave the way for optimal oral health throughout their lives.