Teeth erupt crookedly for a number of reasons. One common cause is a compromised airway caused by enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Tonsils become enlarged due to allergies and chronic infections, this enlargement causes mouth breathing, which in turn leads to childhood sleep apnea. Childhood sleep apnea can lead to bedwetting, fatigue, poor performance in school, and weight gain. This mouth breathing can lead to a forward head position, high palate, and narrow dental arches. Improper tongue position and swallowing also are associated with the above conditions leading to failure of the dental arches to develop properly.
Waiting to treat these children around age 12 when all of their baby teeth have been lost is frequently too late because the upper jaw is 90% developed by the age of 9. Early treatment can reduce the need for extractions or possible facial surgery to correct their bites. Tongue ties also lead to poor upper jaw development.
Early loss of baby teeth and genetics also contribute to crooked teeth. Genetic problems include extra teeth, congenitally missing teeth, and tooth size discrepancies. Early intervention can help a child's self-esteem, preventing heartache from constant teasing. Treating early doesn't always make the overall treatment time shorter but it does make it easier and makes the final bite more stable and less likely to relapse when retainers aren't being worn anymore.
I know many parents have heard that they need to wait until their children have lost all of their baby teeth to start orthodontic treatment, which is around age 12. But we'd much rather see younger children and get them breathing and growing in the right direction.
Adult orthodontics is for patients 12 years and older with all of their permanent teeth.
There are many treatment options when it comes to adult orthodontics, from traditional braces to clear aligners. And when planning adult orthodontics, we take into consideration not only appearance but jaw joint health and sleep apnea. Additionally, adult orthodontics frequently involve complex restorative considerations like missing teeth and existing bridges, crowns, and fillings. This makes having a highly experienced general dentist that is trained in orthodontics a great convenience; what can't be fixed with braces can be finished with cosmetic dentistry under the same roof.
Schedule an appointment with our dentists today at (435) 634-8338.