Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry which concerns itself with the diagnosis and correction of irregularities of teeth.
Some children are born with teeth which have some kind of malformation resulting in bad bite, or distortion of smile and face. Some children develop the problem because of cavities or other dental issues. After the baby teeth fall off these irregularities become noticeable, and parents have to consider options to correct them.
Which abnormalities can be corrected by orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment can correct the following abnormalities of teeth which usually result in poor smile, and poor health as a result of poor oral hygiene.
- Bad bite or malocclusion where teeth are misaligned
- Crooked teeth
- Overcrowding of teeth
- Too much spacing between teeth
Here are a few questions the parent should ask before they start orthodontic treatment for their child.
- Who decides whether my child needs to go for orthodontic treatment?
It can be your dentist or a friend or your child’s teacher. It can be parents who feel the need to see an orthodontic expert.
- What does orthodontic process involve?
Before any treatment starts, the orthodontist will first take a panoramic photographic image of the child’s teeth. Based on the analysis of the photographs, the orthodontist will decide on the course of treatment. The parents will be called for a meeting and the phases of the treatment, the cost and the time it will take will be discussed. After the agreement of the parents and the child the doctor will begin the treatment.
- Does age matter for orthodontic treatment?
Now, the treatment can begin as soon as the child’s 7th year. The doctor can foresee the malocclusion and crowding of teeth well in advance before they appear and can begin treatment to straighten the path of the teeth. As such there is no limit as to when to begin the treatment but your doctor is the best judge to decide on when to begin.
- How much the treatment will cost?
The cost depends on how much work is needed. There are vast individual differences in the needs of children for dental work and the cost will be decided by discussing each phase of the treatment with parents.
- Does the orthodontic treatment produce permanent result?
No permanent guarantee can be given after the treatment as the teeth movement continues throughout one’s life.
- How long the treatment will take?
The time the treatment takes depends on the amount of work needed to correct the anomaly of teeth in the child. More work involved will take more time.
- How many teeth will be extracted during the treatment?
The number of teeth to be extracted during the treatment depends on how much space is needed for the correction of protruding or overcrowded teeth.
- How often one need to bring in one’s child for appointments?
The appointments depend on type of work that is going on. Initially the appointments may be closer together, but as the treatment advances, the appointments will be distant from each other. After the initial treatment the appointments usually falls once in three to four weeks.
- Does the child need to be accompanied by the parent for all appointments?
The parent can attend the whole session of the treatment if they choose to. But the child can be dropped for the appointment and can be picked up at appointed time.
- Will my child miss school?
It is not always possible to schedule the appointments after school, but as far as possible the doctor will try to accommodate your child when school is not on.
- Can the child attend school after the appointment?
Usually the child can attend school after the appointment but when the session is very long or intensive, then the doctor will inform the parent in advance and the appointment will be scheduled after school so that the child goes home after treatment.
- Will the child be hurt by braces?
Usually braces create discomfort and soreness in the gums after they are being tightened. But this is not very painful. Whenever braces hurt too much, you should ask to see the doctor.After the third or fourth day the child will get used to braces and will get more comfortable.
- Can my child participate in normal sports?
The child can surely take part in the chosen sport with the mouthguard.
- What food restrictions will be there during the treatment?
Yes there will be diet restrictions. Hard foods like nuts, sticky foods like candies and ice cubes may damage orthodontic appliances, and therefore should not be taken during the entire treatment. The foods to be avoided are listed and will be given to you when you begin the treatment.
- Whom do I call in an emergency like broken braces?
You must call the office of your orthodontist in an emergency when anything goes wrong with the braces, or braces hurt too much or the child develops ulcers and so on.
This is just a list of probable questions. It is best to ask questions and clear doubts before you begin your child’s orthodontic treatment since the treatment is long and expensive and it is better to be well informed about what you are stepping into before you begin.