Orthodontic Diagnosis & Treatment Planning of Orthodontic Problems
Orthodontic problems are usually more easily corrected if dental braces are placed early after the eruption of permanent teeth up to adolescence. The orthodontist will evaluate each individual case and decide if and when to start orthodontic treatment, but it is very important that he/she is consulted before the malocclusion problems cause any damage to teeth.
Signs/Symptoms of Orthodontic ProblemsParents should pay attention for any signs and symptoms that might indicate the existence of an orthodontic problem. Children with some type of malocclusion problem (teeth misalignment) usually have some of the following symptoms:
Crowded, crooked, misplaced or abnormally aligned teeth
Teeth that meet abnormally or not at all with the teeth of the other jaw
Difficulty in chewing food or biting
Biting the cheek or roof of the mouth
Speech difficulties, trouble saying certain words.
Pain in the facial muscles or jaws that shift or make sounds
Abnormal appearance of the face
Early orthodontic diagnosis can make treatment much easier and reduce the cost for dental braces.
Conditions that increase the risk of orthodontic problemsThere are some conditions or habits that increase significantly the risk of developing orthodontic problems.
Early or late loss of baby teeth
If any of these conditions are noted by parents, it is advisable to consult an orthodontist for evaluation.
How is malocclusion diagnosed?During regular dental visits, the dentist will typically check the child’s mouth for any signs of developing malocclusion. You should inform your family or pediatric dentist about any oral habits (such as thumb-sucking), difficulties with speech, chewing, or any other of the malocclusion symptoms described above. Your dentist will then recommend an orthodontic evaluation if necessary.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children get a checkup with an orthodontist by age 7.
Orthodontic Evaluation and DiagnosisOrthodontic evaluation is done by orthodontists, dentists who have special training in the diagnosis and treatment of malocclusions (teeth misalignments). During the initial orthodontic evaluation the orthodontist first makes a visual inspection of teeth and mouth. Learn how to find an orthodontist.
If the orthodontist finds any signs of malocclusion, another appointment is scheduled where x-rays, photos, and impressions are taken. These diagnostic records provide the necessary information to analyze the orthodontic problems, complete the diagnosis and determine the proper orthodontic treatment plan.
The steps of an orthodontic evaluation include:
Oral, facial and functional examination to determine:
the health status of teeth and gums.
growth asymmetries between teeth and jaws
Placement of the teeth in the jawbone.
Fit between the upper and lower teeth.
Jaw joint function.
Panoramic and profile X-rays of the mouth, to check the jawbone and teeth and to identify:
The position of not yet erupted permanent teeth in relation to the primary teeth.
Any missing teeth or teeth that are blocked and unable to come in properly (impacted).
The root structure of the teeth.
The relative position of teeth in the jaw bone.
any problems with the temporomandibular joints
Intraoral and facial photographs. Facial photographs and intra-oral photographs are taken to help the orthodontist evaluate facial proportions and facial aesthetics.
Impressions of the teeth and bite. Plaster impressions of the upper and lower jaws are used to develop models for closer examination of the teeth and how the upper and lower teeth relate to each other.
Orthodontic treatment planning