With advancements in orthodontics, more children and adults are getting the treatment needed to address oral difficulties. Treating these problems – underbites, overbites, crowded teeth, jaw discrepancies, jaw and tooth size – early is vital to avoid more trouble later in life. Among children, negative oral habits such as breathing through the mouth or thumb sucking are among the leading causes of orthodontic issues.
In many instances, using braces is the solution to these issues. However, their effectiveness is dependent on early diagnosis of the problem, even where some of these issues might be in their formative stages.
There are significant advantages to getting orthodontic treatment early in life. A child’s teeth and jaws are still developing, so any changes are likely to set in much better than an adult’s already-developed oral structure. Orthodontic treatment helps a child’s teeth and oral cavity function properly. While an improved appearance is the most visible result, an aligned set of teeth and jaws ensures that functions such as speaking, biting, and chewing can be performed without issues.
There can be emotional benefits to orthodontic treatment too, as the beautiful smile that results from it can boost an individual’s self-confidence. Additionally, straight teeth are less prone to injury and gum disease, provided they are properly taken care of.
It’s important to note that orthodontic issues can be inherited or acquired through various habits, poor dental hygiene, poor nutrition, or accidents. Regardless of the cause, an orthodontic specialist such as Jonathan Alexander Abt can treat these problems successfully.
In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) introduced contracts for dentists in England and Wales to guide the provision of orthodontic services to those in need. All orthodontists require an NHS contract to provide treatment, while NHS Local Commissioning Teams are responsible for commissioning services to local areas.
Under the terms of the contract, the Local Commissioning Teams have a say in the size of orthodontists’ contracts. This arrangement’s effect is waiting lists for patients whose needs have to be matched against available funding. For children, funding for orthodontic treatment is provided in full by the NHS for those who qualify, except in replacing removable appliances lost or damaged beyond repair.
In general, patients are guided by clear criteria on who qualifies for NHS funding for orthodontic treatment. In cases where funding isn’t available, seeking private treatment is an option to explore.