Shields Dental

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How to Know if You Need Braces – 5 Ways to Find Out

Chances are, that you know more than a few people who’ve endured braces at one point or another. It’s sometimes hard to tell whether you ought to be one of them, especially if you’ve just spent the last half hour at the mirror scrutinising the slant of that one lower canine. If you’re wondering how to know if you need braces, a discipline known as Orthodontics, read on for 5 simple tips to figure it out.

Keep an Early Watch

One of the most important steps in deciding whether a person will require any necessary orthodontic care is to keep an eye on the situation from the very first tooth.

A child should start on dental care within six months of the first-ever tooth sighting and certainly no later than age one. This is especially important, because some dental and orthodontic issues are best treated before a person’s mouth has even finished forming.

While many orthodontic problems are genetic, many others come from early childhood impacts, like thumb-sucking and poor nutrition. Keeping an eye on this sort of change is really important when it comes to deciding whether or not a person will need braces.

Early intervention can sometimes play a key role in helping a person avoid braces at all, and it certainly helps move the process along when it comes time for someone to be evaluated for braces. If your dentist is able to assess and track any bite problems or other orthodontic formation issues from the beginning, they’ll have a leg up on referring you to an orthodontist to tackle the problem when the time comes.

Plus, early intervention in orthodontic issues can often lead to more satisfying results.

Size it Up

Often, it’s easy to tell early on if a person might be a good candidate for braces simply because of the way the teeth look in the face.

Are the teeth too big or too small for the mouth? Are the spaces between them too wide? Do the top teeth angle outward significantly farther than the bottom ones? Is the top or bottom jaw severely misaligned over the other?

If the overall size and proportions of the mouth and teeth just don’t look right, this could be a key sign that a person needs braces. Orthodontic practices to straighten, align, and reposition teeth can be taken in order to more naturally settle teeth into their place within the mouth and face.

If the proportions and alignment of the teeth are noticeably off, it’s important to have a dentist or orthodontist assess the situation because of the risks involved–poorly proportioned teeth and misaligned jaws can lead to serious chewing difficulties and long-term discomfort.

Identify the Signs

As the teeth come in more fully and begin to mature, it gets easier to identify the signs pointing towards needing a little extra orthodontic care.

Most people shed their baby teeth and sprout adult ones between the ages of 10 and 13. It’s at this point that it usually becomes more obvious whether or not a person could benefit from a braces evaluation.

It’s really important to recognise crowded, blocked-out or missing teeth, wherever they may be in the mouth. Seeing a dentist to take account of all of a person’s teeth and examine any crowding or missing-tooth-issues is an extremely important step in determining the need for further orthodontic care.

Even if these dental quirks aren’t currently causing a person discomfort or dissatisfaction in the way they look, they can lead to serious complications and discomfort as the teeth finish growing and the jaws finish forming.

Crowding, extra and missing teeth aren’t problems that will go away if left alone; they’ll get worse and worse until they’re not only visually unappealing, but a health risk to their mouth, throat and glands.

Take Action on Discomfort

Many people see treatment with braces as being a purely cosmetic choice, but the truth is, neglecting proper orthodontic treatment can lead to long-term pain and discomfort as the patient heads into adult life.

Recognise the fact that a “bad bite” or twisted and crowded teeth isn’t something to shrug off. These issues can be connected to serious orthodontic problems and should receive proper, timely care.

If a patient experiences significant (or really, any) discomfort in the teeth or jaw, it could be a big sign they’ll benefit from braces. Popping or misaligned jaws can actually impact congestion and swelling in the throat glands, and continued wear on this area can be detrimental in later years.

Slight discomfort is nothing to ignore. When it comes to the mouth, these problems almost always get worse and for no good reason, since braces and regular orthodontic care can be just what a patient needs to alleviate any pain or discomfort.

Consider How You Feel

For some, braces evaluations can come with uncertain results; maybe a tooth or two is slightly misaligned or poorly-spaced, but it doesn’t pose any real threat to the person’s overall health or comfort.

Even so, it’s important to weigh the emotional aspect of braces intervention, as well as the health-related ones. Remember that it’s totally okay to elect to have orthodontic work done for the sake of your long-term satisfaction with your smile.

If you plan to take good care of your teeth, they’ll be around for a while. It’s important that you feel confident and comfortable in them.

Struggling with the way your smile looks isn’t something you’re required to deal with; if it feels to you as though you need braces, talk with your dentist.

How to Know if You Need Braces

The only sure-fire way of knowing you need braces is to start the conversation with your dentist. Every mouth is different; take the necessary steps to determine whether or not yours could benefit from a little extra dental care.

Give us a call to chat with us and get started caring for your mouth!

Shields Dental are one of the few dental practices in Ireland to have a Specialist Orthodontist as part of their team. Dr Sharon O’Flynn, BA B Dent Sc (TCD); MFDS (RCSI); MOrth (RCSed), is a Specialist Orthodontist and is Treasurer of the Orthodontic Society of Ireland. She graduated from Dublin Dental School in 2002 with honours, and completed her membership and fellowship exams from the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin in 2005. She completed postgraduate orthodontic training in Cardiff in 2008 and received her Master’s in Orthodontics from the University of Cardiff that year, as well as her membership in Orthodontics at the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh.

You can contact Shields Dental & Implant Clinic on 061 480070 or via their website; www.shieldsdentalclinic.ie

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