The importance of a beautiful, healthy smile cannot be underestimated. A full set of 28 adult teeth (or 32 including wisdom teeth) work extremely hard during a lifetime – aesthetically and functionally!
The AAO (American Association of Orthodontists) recommend that all children have a check-up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age seven.
Wait…double-take! Aged seven seems pretty early surely? We spoke to Dr. Jun Hyuk Hwang D.M.D (Boston University, USA), Certificate and Masters in Orthodontics (University of Maryland, Baltimore) from Q & M Dental Group – Singapore’s largest private dental healthcare group, with more than 60 clinics located across the island – to discuss the necessities and benefits of early intervention.
How would you describe what an orthodontist does?
An orthodontist specialises in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dento-facial irregularities. It requires professional skill in design, application and control of a host of corrective appliances – more commonly known as braces, amongst others – to bring the teeth, lips and jaw into proper alignment. Their goal is to provide each of their patients with the most appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time; this could be as simple as wearing a removable appliance at night time, to fixed appliances that can be quickly removed once treatment has completed.
Seven seems really early for a first visit ?
Adult or permanent teeth start to come through around the age of 6 or 7, with adult molars coming through around the age of ten.
The alignment of teeth is so important in keeping them healthy. Orthodontists are trained to intercept certain types of developing malocclusion – the scientific name for facio-dental irregularities – in a growing child, by modifying bone growth in the jaws.
Early evaluation or screening can help detect these problems, which could then be treated while the jaw is still growing, and therefore most responsive to non-surgical treatment. Untreated malocclusion could cause more complications in the future, which may cause permanent damage to teeth, or even become uncorrectable
On a first visit, the orthodontist will evaluate your child’s current dental situation and can predict how this will evolve as they grow. We would then monitor this and develop a preventative or corrective treatment plan. Treatment, such a braces, would begin around age 12, when all adult teeth, including molars, are in place. Also, habits such as finger or thumb sucking affect teeth and jaw development, so need to be addressed at this early age time too.
The earlier you act, the longer your child can benefit from orthodontic treatment. As a parent, simply hoping that the “problem” will resolve itself will more likely create greater problems in the future, which could affect your child’s self-esteem. Also, if they have treatment when they are young, it’s likely their friends will be having treatment too, so they are ‘in it together’.
What about the pain (physical and financial!)?
Most often, parents associate braces with time, money and the incessant complaints from their kids.
Many patients are worried that the treatment will hurt, or that teeth will need to be extracted. Careful and controlled movement of teeth will not cause pain or toothache that cannot be tolerated by most people. The extraction of teeth is on a case-by-case basis, and it can only be determined by a trained specialist.
Orthodontic treatment has become more affordable due to research and development in the field, making a beautiful, healthy smile more affordable for everyone. Also, it’s good to bear in mind that an untreated problem is going to cost more to fix later on in life.
If you suspect that your child could benefit from orthodontic treatment, ask your dentist at their next checkup for an orthodontic consultation.
But it’s not just about the kids!
Orthodontic treatment for adults can be just as beneficial. With the advancement of dentistry, more and more adult patients require correction of teeth alignment prior to placement of complicated prostheses such as crowns, bridges and implants. Orthodontics for adults now offers greater variety of options to meet individual needs. For example, for the correction of minor teeth misalignment, clear braces can help adult patients go through treatment without the need for traditional metal braces.
Q & M Dental Group provides a comprehensive range of primary care dental services, as well as specialist orthodontic services handled by their dedicated team of dental surgeons with post-graduate training.
The Management of Q & M Dental Group reserves the right to amend the terms and conditions, and price without prior notice.
Brought to you by Q & M Dental Group
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