Over the last 14 years, patients have asked us a lot of really good questions about teeth and orthodontics — some questions tend to come up frequently.
Myth 1: “I am too old to straighten my teeth.”
Fact: One of our eldest patients is in his 80s. There is no such thing as too old to straighten your teeth. Teeth can be moved throughout our whole lives and it is safe to do so as long as the gums are healthy. Some medical conditions and medications, such as chemotherapy, may be a contraindication to temporarily moving teeth, but age is not one of them. Our population is living longer, therefore a strong and beautiful smile is important at any age.
Myth 2: “My child has a lot of crowded teeth but his or her jaw will grow and make space for the teeth.”
Fact: The space for all the adult teeth in front of the permanent molars does not increase with growth. The jaw bones do grow as the child grows, but the perimeter for teeth does not increase in font of the permanent molars. Teeth actually tend to shift forward with growth and aging, therefore they tend to become more crowded over time. With the guidance of an orthodontist, space can be made available for adult teeth with space maintainers that would otherwise not be there. This is why it’s so important to see your orthodontist once your child turns seven and adult teeth are beginning to come in.
Myth 3: “If my child’s jaws are not growing well together, nothing can be done to change that.”
Fact: Several types of jaw bone growth patterns show an excellent response to growth modification when treatment is started at the right age. We can and do change jaw patterns and prevent future jaw surgeries for a lot of patients.
Myth 4: “If my child has braces in tween or teen years, then his or her wisdom teeth will cause the teeth to shift later and braces will be needed again.”
Fact: Not so! Teeth drift and shift with growth and aging, and very well designed studies in orthodontics show that wisdom teeth have very little, if anything, to do with crowding. Retainers are needed after braces, regardless of the age when treatment is done. Retainers will keep teeth straight as long as they are worn. The only way teeth will move after braces is if retainers are not worn as directed.
Myth 5: “All kids should have braces around age 12.”
Fact: Timing of orthodontics treatment depends on the specific growth pattern and development of the individual child. Some kids need braces early to prevent significant problems from developing, where other kids need to wait for teeth that are growing slowly. Some people with jaw growth issues need to start treatment earlier to ensure we can normalize growth of the jaw bones, while others with a different jaw bone pattern may not be sensitive to treatment timing. Another, more rare form of jaw bone disharmony, is best treated when jaw bone growth is complete.
Myth 6: “I want to straighten my teeth, but I can’t because I don’t want to have braces.”
Fact: Technology is always changing. Invisalign is a system of clear aligners that are almost invisible and can straighten teeth and correct bites. Another option is braces that are used on the back sides of the teeth, so you cannot see them. Some of our patients have been on TV and no one has noticed that they wear these aesthetic options for straightening teeth!
Please don’t hesitate to ask us questions on your next visit. Our consultations are complimentary, and we are always happy to give you our honest opinions.
Dr. Magda Barnard
B.Sc., D.D.S. (with distinction),
M.Sc. (Orthodontics), F.R.C.D(C)
Suite 206, Sunnyside Mall
1595 Bedford Highway, Bedford
Metro Orthodontic Specialists
Suite 200, 5991 Spring Garden Road