If the expression “Say Cheese!” makes you cringe and shy away from photos due to a dental misalignment such as protruding or buckteeth, an orthodontist can treat the problem and give you a healthy smile. Protruding teeth mean that the lower or upper teeth are not sitting correctly in the mouth and are pushed forward or outward. They can interfere with the position of the lips and increase incidences of tooth decay or gum disease in some patients. Protruding teeth are more likely to suffer damage or injury during accidents and can cause speech impediments or problems with eating. People may also feel self-conscious about the appearance of their teeth and that can have an effect on their career or relationships, so they may elect to have their teeth corrected for cosmetic purposes.
When patients see the orthodontist for protruding teeth, the patient will have x-rays and a 3 dimensional digital scan is done, the orthodontist will diagnose the patient and draw up an individual treatment plan depending on the shape of their mouth, the degree of misalignment and the age of the patient. Most treatments involve a combination of techniques such as braces, headgear, elastics and retainers.
Children between the ages of 8 to 10 start to show signs that indicate a protruding problem and can be given phase 1 treatments that help the jaw and teeth spacing so that once the permanent teeth are in place between ages 11 to 13, the phase 2 treatment process of corrective braces etc. can be used for the final dental alignment positioning. Treating children early on means the corrective process can be started BEFORE the jaw is fully developed and avoid having to correct as a teen or as an adult with possible surgery.
Having an orthodontist adjust protruding teeth problems early will correct the alignment and appearance of the teeth and jaw, prevent the problem from becoming worse and avoid future problems such as dental decay, loss of teeth or mouth injury to lips, tongue, gums and teeth. Your smile and self-confidence will improve, dental hygiene will be easier, biting and chewing food will be more efficient and there will be a reduced risk of dental injury. Your teeth will last longer because your whole mouth will be healthier and you will be happier with a new photo worthy smile!