Often time, people get braces because they want straight teeth. However, straightening the teeth is only one aspect of an ideal orthodontic treatment plan. The best orthodontic treatment will also:
1. Balance the alignment of your teeth with the proper position of your jaw/joint.
2. Harmonize the esthetic of your smile with the esthetic of your face.
If an orthodontic treatment is done without considerations for the above two significant factors, the patient can come out of braces with:
1. Problems of teeth wear and joint pain over time.
2. Higher chances of teeth drifting back into malalignment.
3. A smile that may not fit the face.
4. A face that is not developed to its full potential.
Parents who choose to give their children orthodontic treatments should consider proper research to understand all treatment options. Children's orthodontic treatments revolve around complex growth phases. The orthodontist/dentist need to carefully monitor the development of not just the teeth but also of the jaw, joint, and face. The decision to start and end orthodontic treatments is based on science and clinical needs.
Here are some DO's to remember:
1. Consider more than 1 consultation with different orthodontists.
2. Ask the orthodontist to explain the treatment process of their sample cases. Ask Why, How, and What was done?
3. Look at the smile from the overall esthetic of the face.
Here are some DONOT's :
1. Choose an orthodontist based on price alone.
2. Automatically accept a treatment plan which suggests extractions of permanent teeth to create room. Instead, ask for multiple options.
3. Wait until all permanent teeth have erupted.
If you have had braces and are experiencing joint noise/pain. This is not normal, and further diagnostic testing and treatments should be considered in order to prevent long term damage.
Good luck in your quest for a beautiful and healthy smile !
Alex Nguyen, DDS is a Saratoga Dentist who practices General Dentistry, Cosmetic, and Implant Dentistry. For over 20 years the practice has been serving the residents of Santa Clara County and San Francisco Bay Area.