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Orthodontics

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Orthodontic treatment is the field of dentistry where crooked teeth and abnormal growth of the jaws are treated. There are various factors causing abnormal development of the jaws resulting in crooked teeth. Early signs and symptoms allow us to detect these problems, which should be addressed as soon as possible. This will help prevent many long term complications which may develop if left untreated, such as crooked teeth, narrow jaws, constricted airways, development of obstructive sleep apnea, chronic tempero-mandibular disorder which may lead to facial neuralgias, migraines and muscle spasms to name a few.


How do I know if my child or I need orthodontic treatment?

Common signs/symptoms for individuals who most likely require orthodontic treatment include crooked teeth, mouth breathing, swallowing with very active lips (reverse swallowing), poor sleep quality, chronic migraines especially when waking up to name a few. Children with baby teeth which are perfectly aligned with no gaps at all would most likely require some form of orthodontic treatment, as "gaps" are a sign of well developing jaws.


Does my child need orthodontic treatment if his/her teeth are just a bit crooked?

Healthy tooth and jaw development may already be affected from as soon as a child starts breastfeeding. Due to global modernization our diets and lifestyles have changed dramatically over the past few centuries. These changes have had drastic effects on jaw and tooth development in our modern society, as we do not always learn to chew and swallow correctly from a young age. Of course genetics does play a role in development too.

In most cases, crooked teeth are a symptom of bigger problems. This may include abnormal jaw bone & jaw joint development, and/or abnormal functioning of tongue, lip and cheek muscles which in turn affects the growth of jaws.

If left untreated, underdeveloped jaws may result in constricted airways, compressed jaw joints, as well as crooked teeth to name a few. This may lead to conditions such as sleep apnea, chronic tempero-mandibular joint disorder TMD), chronic migraines, higher risk of dental caries due to crooked teeth being more difficult to keep clean, etc. So, the more relevant question is: "What are the health risks if my child has crooked teeth which remains untreated?"


Should my child only have orthodontic treatment done after all his/her permanent teeth have erupted?

It is advised to start with orthodontic treatment as soon as possible after a problem has been detected. The most effective time to intercept abnormal growth and developmental patterns are between 5yrs – 13yrs. Orthodontic treatment can still be done successfully in adults, although it may be more complex and treatment a bit longer.


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