Summer is right around the corner, school will be out, and it’s the perfect time to get braces on. The kids don’t have to miss school for the long starting appointments and won’t have to have the discomfort of getting used to braces while in school. Great…so how does one find the orthodontist?
In most cases almost any properly licensed orthodontist will accomplish what you want and your child will look fine. What you need to know before committing to a treatment is if a complete diagnosis of why the teeth need treatment has been made and if the treatment plan addresses that diagnosis.
Unfortunately, many schools are just turning out practitioners that just follow the rules they learned. After graduating, there are orthodontic supply companies that have developed “no brainer” methods that just make the teeth look good as fast as possible.
This is just too tempting for many parents so, like giving pills for a symptom, parents allow someone to just put on the braces, pull however many teeth are recommended, and 18 months to two years later your precious angel has an acceptable smile. How long it lasts is up to nature.
NATURE? Up to now, under the assembly line conventional approach I’ve described above, nature has been left out of the picture. The complete diagnosis was not made, just a surface-level treatment plan. The complete diagnosis requires researching out what caused the patient to have crooked teeth. Then the treatment plan should be made to correct the cause while establishing an environment within the patient that can maintain straight teeth that function properly within the oral complex. It should also attempt to make up for the damage that has already resulted by these factors.
Aside from genetic contributions, such as one parent with big teeth and the other with small jaws or one with the lower jaw in front of the upper, there is a myriad of other factors. The oral environment is probably the biggest factor. The musculature of the oral complex forms a matrix creating a framework upon which the teeth are guided. If all is ideal the teeth come in perfectly. The inside of the arch is directed by the tongue and the outside by the lip and cheek muscles. As long as their relationship is ideal, great!
When the oral complex is not ideal, problems usually occur. For example, if the growing child can’t breathe through his/her nose, the mouth must be open. This causes the inner matrix which controls the width of the arches, aka the tongue, to be low. It is not so low that the lower teeth are not directed, but low enough that the upper arch becomes crowded, many times blocking out the cuspids or canines, forcing the front teeth forward.
Now, if the mouth breathing is due to a food allergy, the tonsils and adenoids enlarge, causing further airway blockage as well as forcing the tongue to go forward due to the tonsils taking up the throat space. Since the formation of the dental arches is controlled by the muscles, the forward tongue creates forward teeth. To make it worse, the consistently open mouth stimulates the face to grow longer thus exacerbating the dental problem into a facially esthetic problem.
The best time to see all patients is around age seven. If the problem has to do with growth, something can be done and the results are far better than waiting until later. If growth is nearing the end, usually at around age 13, not as much can be done to change growth and very little can be done to grow more bone in order to prevent removal of permanent teeth to correct crowding.
Orthodontic treatment need not be limited to just making a teenager have a beautiful or handsome smile. When done taking into consideration all the factors that make up the perfect dentition and facial muscle harmony, it not only gives them that incredible smile, but a more ideal facial balance and more stable result. It can be the difference between an unattractive face and a beautiful face.
The stability of the result depends on the proper balance of the muscles which requires proper breathing and proper oral habits. It requires an orthodontist that looks at more than just teeth. And as my regular readers know, I am committed to a holistic approach for the very best patient outcomes.
Have a great Summer!
Robert Brown, DDS has a TMJ, orthodontia, and sleep apnea practice in Danville and thoroughly enjoys discussing holistic medicine. You can contact him at 925-837-8048, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit his web site at www.aodtc.com.