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            The Aga Khan University Hospital Pakistan

Enhance Your Smile and Jaw Function with Orthodontic Care

<p style="text-align: justify;">Do you or your child have crooked teeth or an imbalanced jaw relationship? Misalignment of teeth and jaws is a common issue affecting many children and adults. It may lead to difficulty in chewing and speaking, along with challenges in properly cleaning teeth, which can subsequently impact gum health. Orthodontic treatment can effectively address these issues and many other concerns related to tooth and jaw alignment, allowing for a healthy set of teeth and a functional jaw relationship.  </p><p style="text-align: justify;">We often get asked about the ideal age for orthodontic treatment. While there&#39;s no strict age limit, the best age for a child&#39;s first orthodontic check-up is at seven years of age. This allows for identification of any jaw retrusion or protrusion. If a child has a protruding lower jaw, this is the ideal age to modify jaw growth. Early intervention (at 10 to 11 years old) is attempted for children with a retruded lower jaw. During this growth period, an orthodontist can use appliances to modify the child&#39;s jaw growth and use orthodontic braces to correct teeth alignment, making it possible to have a functional and aesthetic outcome. If a child receives an evaluation after growth is complete, the orthodontist may not be able to modify jaw growth and will have to employ camouflage treatment. So don&#39;t let your child miss the boat!
</p><p style="text-align: justify;">That said, it should be noted that there is no age limit for orthodontic treatment, and it can also be carried out for adults to correct teeth misalignment. In some severe cases in adults where jaw growth modification is not possible, surgical treatment combined with braces may be required. Fortunately, advancements in aesthetics offer options like clear aligners or tooth-coloured braces for a less visible treatment experience. </p><p style="text-align: justify;">Malocclusion (misalignment of teeth and jaws) is usually caused by genetic, developmental, or environmental conditions. Certain types of jaw and teeth alignment issues, which may run in families, can also be caused by habits like thumb or finger sucking, lip or nail biting, or mouth breathing. If your child has any of these habits, try to break them before age six, as this is when permanent teeth start erupting and the habit&#39;s effects become evident. If the habit persists, consult an orthodontist who can provide the child with habit-breaking appliances. Early intervention prevents severe malocclusion (when teeth are mispositioned when the jaw is closed).
</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Underlying tonsil or adenoid issues can also lead to mouth breathing, often resulting in a long face with open bites. These can be addressed efficiently with growth appliances while the child is still growing. Children born with a cleft lip and palate or an underlying syndrome may also be susceptible to malocclusions. Timely orthodontic treatment can address these issues with lower cost and less invasive procedures.</p><p style="text-align: justify;">Therefore, timely detection of a developing misalignment of teeth and jaws is the key to cost-effective and successful orthodontic treatment.  
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</strong></p><p><strong>Author: </strong></p><p><strong>Dr Rashna Hoshang Sukhia</strong></p><p>BDS, MSc, FCPS, MOrth RCSEd UK, FFD Orth RCSI, FHEA UK, FDTFEd UK</p><p>Associate Professor and Consultant Orthodontist
</p><p>Program Director Orthodontics Residency Program
</p><p>Section of Dentistry, Department of Surgery, The Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi ​</p><p><strong>
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