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What is the right age for starting orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment is aligning of the teeth by use of braces and correction of malformation of the jaws to make it aesthetic and more functional.

There are various reasons why your child's teeth may not be in proper alignment and requires an orthodontic consultation.

It may be due to: - Premature loss of baby teeth - Habits such as thumb sucking and tongue thrusting - Jaw discrepancies due to hereditary

The right age for visiting an orthodontist is between the age of 6 years to 12 years that is the time of mixed dentition when both primary and permanent teeth are present in the mouth. This is the right time when jaw discrepancies (if present) can be treated efficiently as it is the period when the jaw growth occurs.

Such jaw discrepancies may require surgery if done at a later age (as jaw growth is complete,hence can not be modified) which can be avoided by timely treatment.

Teeth alignment may be required for a variety of reasons such as: - Forwardly placed upper teeth - Crowing/ Spacing of teeth - Deep bite or open bite - Small jaw or large maxilla Teeth malalignment should be treated early on as it can lead to: - Low self esteem among children - Functional disturbances like difficulty in chewing - More prone to caries due to abnormal teeth positioning - Strain on jaw muscles causing TMJ disorders - Teeth attrition

Different types of orthodontic braces are available such as:

- Metallic braces

- Ceramic braces

- Lingual braces

- Invisible braces

These braces can be selected according to the aesthetic need of the patient and the severity of the teeth malalignment.


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