Post by: / September 18, 2013

Orthodontic Myths and Facts

Should I wait for my child to grow more before I see an orthodontist for braces?

A generation ago, about 75% of orthodontic patients had adult teeth removed; today that number is closer to 20%. Why the decrease?  As orthodontists have learned more about growth and development, we have gained knowledge on how to get great smiles without extracting teeth.  Unfortunately, several old myths remain…

  • MYTH 1: Braces shouldn’t be started until all the adult teeth are in
    • REALITY: If you wait that long, crowding worsens and more extractions may become necessary
  • MYTH 2: Crowding gets better as a child grows
    • REALITY: Adult teeth shift forward with time, so crowding actually worsens after age 9.  Even though the jaws are still growing, small baby teeth are traded for larger adult teeth that shift forward with age. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends a first consult with an orthodontist at age 7 so future crowding can be monitored and/or prevented.
  • MYTH 3: You need a referral from a dentist to see an orthodontist
    • REALITY: Not so.  Dentists do refer patients to orthodontic offices, but over half of all orthodontic patients are referred by friends, family, or other non-dental sources. If you’re curious or concerned about your child, call to set up an orthodontic consultation. Many orthodontists do not charge for their consults.