Despite an upsurge in adults choosing to undergo teeth straightening treatments to improve their smile and confidence, children remain a popular subject for orthodontists as correcting oral issues early is generally considered successful.
According to the British Orthodontic Society over 200,000 children started orthodontic treatment last year to straighten crooked, crowded or protruding teeth. Commonly, most of these children start treatment around the age of 12 or 13, though in some cases it may be necessary to wait for enough teeth to come through.
Reducing the Risks
Consider that young children with severely protruding teeth will be more at risk from a dental trauma. With inadequate lip coverage to protect teeth from a blow or fall, there is a much higher risk of damaging or even losing a permanent front tooth just from taking part in regular sporting or social activity.
A severe underbite or overbite may also have consequences beyond the aesthetic for growing children, causing difficulties in biting or chewing food and in some cases interfering with speech.
Then of course there is the fact that a child may be bullied due to the appearance of their teeth, which can put them under additional emotional toil at an already challenging time in their development.
Whilst it is true that some children will suffer from a slightly distorted smile whilst they ‘grow into’ their adult teeth, others will require orthodontic treatment to correct misaligned teeth and introducing them to this type of treatment early on will help protect them from the risks we’ve just outlined.
Reaping the Rewards
In addition to the social advantages of introducing dental braces at an early age, when playground teasing due to ‘buck teeth’ may be rife, undergoing orthodontic treatment as a teenager or pre-teen comes with many other benefits, these will include:
- Shorter treatment times – orthodontic treatment generally has better results in children than in adults - when conditions such as bone loss, gingivitis and the fact that growth has stopped result in tooth realignment being a more involved and lengthier process.
- More receptive patients – braces for children have become a socially acceptable norm, with some braces even being customised aesthetically to make them hip. Children and their peers, therefore may be more receptive of treatment than adults, who undergo dental braces treatments in much smaller numbers.
- More now, less later – early intervention takes advantage of the fact that a child’s jaw is still growing but will also deliver a better chance that the remaining adult teeth fall into the correct position. If dental arches and jaws are not in the right place, braces can improve this and even though further treatment may be needed at a later stage, it will be much shorter and far less complicated than if the entire issue is left until adulthood.
We only get one set of permanent teeth and as orthodontists, it is our job to ensure that these teeth remain in the most presentable fashion for as long as possible. Starting early with our younger patients may therefore help prolong the life of the teeth and the appearance of the smile.
At Oldham Orthodontics we offer both NHS and Private treatment for children who require braces. If you want to help your child have a beautiful smile, please contact us today on 0161 622 0987.