Why You Should See an Orthodontist for Braces
It may not seem like it at first glance, but a majority of the people you pass on the street every day could benefit from some correction to their teeth. In fact, studies show that only about 35% of adults in the United States have well-aligned teeth. Aside from obvious cosmetic reasons, misaligned teeth can have a negative impact on our physical health as well. A lot of the jaw aches we have on a daily basis, but don’t give much thought to, may actually be originating from issues caused by misaligned teeth. Toothaches and other general discomforts in the jaw area should always be taken seriously. Left untreated, dental issues only get worse, leading to more lengthy and expensive treatments down the line. Get your check-up now so that your dental problem doesn’t escalate into something that requires surgery someday.
When Should You Bring In Your Child For Their First Orthodontist Visit?
As you’ve probably heard before, it’s always best to address orthodontic issues as early on as possible. Since children’s teeth are more malleable at a younger age, it’s a good idea to tackle braces early on. Early orthodontic care will ensure that the treatment is as easy and effective as possible. Additionally, since braces are now fairly common among young kids, it’s easiest for the child to get braces at a younger age when their peers are going through the same changes.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontist check-up no later than 7 years of age. Of course, their first dentist visit should come well before that (by age 1).
There are some cases in which you might want to bring your child in to see an orthodontist a bit earlier on. Keep an eye out for anything that might seem concerning about your child’s teeth. For example, an overbite, underbite, significant gaps or overcrowding of teeth might be a reason to make an early appointment with an orthodontist. Certain breathing problems may also signify needing to take a trip to a pediatric dentist.
Can Adults Get Braces?
The short answer is yes. Adults can definitely get braces, although the process might be just a bit more complicated. Since adult teeth are already fully grown, straightening the teeth might take longer due to their density. If the adult has any oral complications such as gum disease, these factors might impact the process of getting braces as well. Aside from the timeline however, the overall process of getting braces will be relatively similar for adults as it is for children.
Many adults feel anxious when faced with the idea of getting braces at their age. It should be noted however, that these days there are more options than ever when it comes to braces. Minimally visible options such as clear aligners, ceramic braces, and self-ligating braces have been gaining popularity for good reason in recent years. Less visible, these options are great for adults who might not feel comfortable wearing full metal braces around the office.
Remember that braces aren’t forever – most adults only have to wear their braces for 18 to 26 months. This amount of time is a small price to pay for a lifetime of confidence and comfort. Especially when braces can help relieve jaw-related pains and headaches, resulting in a happier, more productive you.
What Can Happen If I Don’t Get Braces?
Left to its own devices, teeth misalignment can get increasingly worse. Rarely do misaligned teeth straighten out on their own. In minor cases, untreated misalignment issues are likely to lead to gaps between your teeth or occasional overlapping (or both). Crooked teeth will likely affect brushing and dental hygiene, possibly resulting in plaque buildup and cavities.
In worse cases, misaligned teeth can lead to an aching jaw and headaches, which could have a serious impact on your quality of life. Straight teeth, on the other hand, can make daily actions such as chewing much easier, with less strain being put on the jaw. Most importantly, straight teeth mean that when you bite down, your teeth clash less, reducing the wear and tear to your enamel.
On a more personal note, adults also frequently find that a better smile makes them feel more confident and happy. Surprisingly, misaligned teeth don’t impact just the way you see yourself but also how other people perceive you. Research shows that 78% of Americans perceive adults with crooked teeth to be unsuccessful. Your smile really is a representation of yourself, so make sure that the representation is as bright and shiny as possible.
When Visiting an Orthodontist
Sometimes your dentist will refer you to an orthodontist, however, that isn’t strictly necessary. As we mentioned earlier, we recommend
that you bring your child in at least once to see an orthodontist by age 7. So a referral from your dentist isn’t strictly required most of the time. We know that choosing a new oral healthcare provider can be a lot of pressure, but here are a few standard things to keep in mind when searching:
- Education and Experience – You want the best of the best when taking care of your child’s or your own dental health. Make sure that the orthodontist you ultimately choose has had sufficient experience and formal education.
- Specialization – If you’re searching for a new dentist for your child, ensure that the provider you choose is certified in pediatric dentistry. Dental practices focused on children are often friendlier and better at dealing with young ones as well. It’s very important that kids feel comfortable with their dental provider.
- Availability – Depending on where you live, dental appointments can be hard to get. We’ve all had the experience of calling somewhere to get a same-week appointment, just to find out that the next availability is no earlier than a month from now. Start calling around as soon as you know you need to see a provider. Many dentist and orthodontic offices now also offer online appointment booking for patient convenience.
- Testimonials – It’s always great to ask around or see what past patients have said about the practice. These comments might give you some insight as to how capable the orthodontist is.
Another thing to keep in mind when searching for an orthodontist is which insurance plans they accept. To be on the safe side, it’s best to g