The Importance of Childhood Orthodontics

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Orthodontics has always been an integral part of dentistry, yet it is especially important for both parents and children to understand exactly how crucial orthodontics is for the development of healthy teeth and a functional jawline. The term ‘orthodontics’ comes from the Greek ‘orthos’ (meaning straight) and ‘odous’ (meaning tooth)- and this describes the practice of orthodontics almost exactly, being the treatment of irregularities in the teeth and jaws. The most common way to treat these irregularities are braces, which I’m sure all of you reading are familiar with, either from having them yourself as a child or knowing someone who has. The reason so many children have braces is because it’s easier to identify and treat dental issues before they become a more serious issue further down the line.

The purpose of orthodontic treatment is to create a healthy, functional “bite,” which is part tooth alignment and part jaw position. When jaws and teeth line up correctly, they are able to function as nature intended- therefore promoting oral health and general physical health. Orthodontic treatment will help your child bite and chew, whilst also contributing to clear and coherent speech. In addition to this, correctly functioning teeth tend to look more aesthetically appealing- an attractive smile is a great side effect of orthodontics, and your child’s self-esteem and confidence will surely skyrocket as treatment brings the jawline, lips and teeth into proportion.

Many children’s orthodontic issues stem from genetics, yet a significant amount of problems are acquired, developing over time from bad habits like thumb- sucking, mouth breathing or abnormal swallowing. Unfortunately, children’s teeth don’t just straighten out as they grow, and untreated orthodontic problems can worsen and become more difficult to treat as time goes on. There is not one ‘right’ age for orthodontic treatment, but if you feel that your child might benefit from treatment, we recommend booking them in for an evaluation when they are no older than 7 years of age. That may seem too young for braces, but our orthodontists can get a wealth of information from looking at a developing mouth, and can predict what kind of treatment your child might need in the future. As we previously stated, the younger we can catch and treat problems, the longer your child can enjoy a healthy mouth and attractive smile, so don’t delay in booking an evaluation with us at Strand on the Green Dental Practice by calling 020 8995 0298.

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