Who needs orthodontics?
Sometimes, a child’s teeth and jaw do not develop in the normal way. The medical term for teeth that are out of position is malocclusion. Some cases of malocclusion occur for no obvious reason. Other cases are the result of certain behaviours, such as frequent thumb sucking, or an injury to the teeth or bones of the face.
Many cases of malocclusion do not pose serious health concerns. However, if malocclusion is not corrected during the teenage years, it may affect the appearance of the teeth and the shape of the face. This could cause psychological and emotional problems, such as lack of self-confidence, anxiety and depression. More severe cases of malocclusion can affect the functioning ability of the teeth, mouth and jaw. For example, it can make it difficult for a person to eat food; cleaning the teeth may be harder and the teeth may be vulnerable to damage.
Malocclusion is much more common than most people think. For example, a recent study carried out in England found that around a third of 12 year olds would benefit from some degree of orthodontic treatment.