Post by: / November 4, 2015

Braces: Do we really need them?

A common question that comes up during the consultation is “why is treatment being recommended”? Or, similarly, “what would happen if my child (or I)  don’t get orthodontic treatment”?  Is it really necessary?

It is important to know that we don’t always say “yes” !  Sometimes it is not the right time to start treatment.  For instance, even though the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should visit an orthodontist by age 7, there are only certain bite problems that are necessary to fix at this age.  Other orthodontic issues are better treated at a later time.  It is also possible that there is minimal gain from a functional point of view.  Sometimes, factors such as the tooth root shape or health of the bone mean that the risks of orthodontic treatment outweigh the benefits.

Generally speaking, there are two main improvements that can occur:

  1. Aesthetic
  2. Functional

From an aesthetic point of view, how your teeth look can make an impact on your life in the way that you eat, speak and socialize.  Research shows that having straighter teeth can improve self esteem.  A significant amount of research now shows that treating an overbite in younger children can improve their quality of life, if they were being teased or bullied at school.  The same crowding or overbite can have no effect on one person, but be a severe problem in another.  These problems are not “just cosmetic”, they can have a major effect on the quality of life.

From a more functional point of view, having straighter teeth can make them easier to keep clean and this can lead to better oral health (lower risk of getting cavities or gum problems).  Decreasing your risk for gum problems is important since research shows us that they are linked to other health problems in the rest of the body (such as heart disease, stroke, pre-term babies).  Also certain types of bites can cause injury or wearing of the teeth, which can then lead to dental work that you otherwise would not have needed.

If you are wondering if braces are needing for you or your child, contact our office for a complimentary consultation.  We will always be honest when making treatment recommendations.  It is our goal to inform you on 1) what treatment will improve, and 2) what consequences exist if treatment is not started.  This way you and your family can make an informed decision together.