Why is the age 7 considered the most optimal time for the first orthodontic evaluation?
It is rare to begin orthodontic treatment before the age of 7. This is because a child’s bite is not established until all the first adult molars (6 year old molars) erupt, and most orthodontic appliances requires the first adult molars to act as anchors.
What are the advantages of early treatment?
Early detection of orthodontic problems allows timely intervention by the orthodontist, guiding jaw growth, and prevents the problems becoming more serious later.
While there is no guarantee early treatment can prevent braces later, there are several advantages of early treatment:
Reducing the need for tooth extractions by either preserving space for the unerupted teeth, or creating space
Preventing facial asymmetry by correction of cross bites
Reducing the risk of trauma to the protruding front teeth
Reducing the risk of trauma to the palate due to deep bite
Reducing future treatment time with braces
If treatment is recommended but the timing is not right, your orthodontist may choose to carefully monitor your child's growth and development, and begin treatment when the time is optimal.
No, you can never be too old for orthodontic treatment. Teeth can be moved at any age as long as your gums and bone structures are healthy.
A healthy bite is as important at the age age 60 as it is at age 16. A “bad bite” (or malocclusion) and crooked teeth can contribute to gum and bone loss, tooth decay, abnormal wear of the tooth enamel, headaches and jaw joint (TMJ) pain.
Patients of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment for healthier teeth and gums, improved chewing efficiency, and increased confidence from beautiful smiles.
Do adult orthodontic treatments differ from teenager orthodontic treatments? The biology of tooth movement is the same for an adult as it is for a teenager, albeit the tooth movement can be a little bit slower. Hence it is not unusual for adults to have a slightly longer treatment time.
Also as the adult jaws are no longer growing, in same case where the malocclusion is severe, one may require jaw surgery to re-align the jaws in order to correct the bite.
Before your first visit, you will receive a welcome pack from our reception staff, which contains basic information regarding orthodontic treatment and a health questionnaire for you to bring back. If you have a referral letter or any x-rays from your dentist, please bring them along with you for your initial consultation.
During your initial consultation, you will be seen by one of our orthodontists who will examine your mouth, make notes of your concerns, and then discuss the initial findings with you.
At the end of your consultation, there are three possible outcomes:
Orthodontic treatment is required and recommended now. The orthodontist will request to have diagnostic records taken at another appointment, followed by a detailed discussion regarding your treatment plan.
Orthodontic treatment is required, but now is not the right time to commence treatment. Some orthodontic problems are better treated when there are more adult teeth present, or when the jaw growth is more established. The orthodontist will place you on a recall until you are ready for treatment.
No orthodontic treatment required at all. If you are a child who is still growing, the orthodontist may place you on a recall to monitor the dental development until you are 18 years of age.
Diagnostic records consist of two x-rays (OPG, Lateral Cephalometrics), a series of extra-oral and intra-oral photographs, and study models.
Diagnostic records provide important information regarding your dentition and facial development. The orthodontist uses the diagnostic records to formulate a treatment plan or different treatment options.
Treatment Plan Discussion
This is the appointment where the orthodontist will give you a detailed discussion of your diagnosis and the treatment options available.
When braces are first fitted, it is normal to experience discomfort for up to a week. Initially the teeth are sensitive to pressure and chewing, but gradually the sensitivity will disappear. Most people can easily tolerate this initial discomfort. However, should you wish to be more comfortable, you may take analgesics (pain killers) on the day you get your braces fitted, then continue for another 3 to 4 days. The analgesics should be something that you would normally take for a headache and please follow the instructions on the package for the correct dosage.
To avoid aggravating the tenderness of your teeth, we also recommend eating very soft foods that do not require chewing for the first 4-5 days, such as soup, smoothies, mashed potatoes, yoghurt, scrambled eggs, porridge, etc. You can also ask our helpful staff about the braces friendly cook book.
You will also find the braces rubbing onto your gums and cheeks. You can reduce the irritation by rinsing your mouth for 15-20 seconds with salt water (1 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) as often as you like. We will also provide you with special orthodontic wax to cover any parts of your braces which feel rough and uncomfortable. Don’t forget to pat dry the braces first so the wax will stick better.
Once your teeth are not tender anymore, you can start your normal diet. However, for the whole duration of your treatment, you must avoid hard, crunchy, chewy, sugary and sticky food that can break your braces!
Things to avoid during treatment
DO NOT eat:
•Mars bars, Cherry Ripes, Snickers, Crunchie, Toblerones
•Toffees, Fantales, Red Skins
•Muesli bars, Nougat
•Roll Ups, chewy Lollies
•PORK CRACKLING is a definite No No!
AVOID drinks that contain sugar and acid such as:
•Soft drinks and diet soft drinks
•Energy drinks, sports drinks
•Ice teas, cordials
We do not advise that you drink anything containing sugar. However if you choose to drink these, please use a straw and rinse your mouth with water straight away.
CUT UP foods that are hard, crunchy, or have hard centers, into small bite-size pieces and chew with your back teeth:
•Fresh fruits and vegetables: apples, pears, carrots, corn
•Stone fruits: plums, peaches
•Meat on bones: chicken wings, drumsticks, ribs, steaks
BE CAREFUL of:
•Bread crust and pizza crust
•Crunchy and hard cereals
STOP bad habits such as:
•Biting and chewing your fingernails
•Chewing on pens or pencils
•Pulling drink bottle caps with your teeth
It is very important to keep your teeth and gums healthy during the orthodontic treatment. If you let food particles accumulate over time, they turn into plaque which can cause bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. Poor oral hygiene can also lead to permanent stains around your braces, and inflammed gums can lead to increased treatment times.
What you need:
Toothbrush (soft bristles only)
Floss (Superfloss or Plackers Orthopick)
Fluoride mouthrinse (alcohol-free)
What you must do:
Brush your teeth, gums, and braces every morning and every night for 4-6 minutes with your toothbrush; and use interdental brush to clean underneath the wires and around the braces.
After every snacks and meals, do a quick brush with your toothbrush to remove any food particles stuck on your braces.
Floss every night.
Optional: Chew a disclosing tablet to check if there is any remaining plaque (which will appear bright pink!) and brush away any pink stains.
Optional: Rinse with fluoride mouthrinse followed by application of Tooth Mousse before bed.
Regular dental visits
It is important that you return to your family dentist or school dentist every six months for a routine dental examination and clean. Orthodontic treatment may need to be put on hold or stopped all together if there is a significant deterioration in your oral health during the active treatment period.