If you have a chance to meet with an orthodontist, chances are you’re going to have a few questions. In all likelihood, they will be questions he has heard a thousand times before. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask them or feel as though you’re wasting his time. You have a right to ask the questions that will ensure you make good decisions. At the same time, however, why not do some research on your own and answer the basics by yourself? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions in the field.
Is orthodontics really important?
Many people see an orthodontist as the plastic surgeon of the dental community. Those that go get braces and such are really just concerned with vanity. While there is no substitute for having a mouthful of straight, clean teeth, there are better reasons that for seeking out the assistance of one of these advanced dentists. You may not be aware of it, but misaligned teeth, overbites, and other problems can actually lead to early gum disease, tooth decay, chewing problems, and speech issues.
How young is too young?
Parents often want to know how soon they can bring their children in to the orthodontist. Perhaps as a result of their own experiences, they understand that it really isn’t a lot of fun going through adolescence with metal in your mouth. Even though many of your peers are dealing with the same thing, it can be a burden on top of what is already a stressful, fragile time in a child’s life. The AAO (American Association of Orthodontists) recommends that parents wait until a child is at least 7 before any work can be considered. It may be later, however, before a specific or particular treatment can or should begin. The child’s maturity level will play a part in the decision as well.
How long will it take?
This is the toughest question to answer on a broad basis and should be asked of your orthodontist specifically. Each treatment takes a different amount of time, subject to the severity of the problem. A full set of braces will usually take around two years to get everything in place. This may be followed by a period of time where the patient must wear a retainer on a part time basis. Other treatments may take longer or shorter, depending on the circumstances. Whatever the case, it should be remembered that orthodontics is not an overnight type of field. It will take some time to achieve results.