Health

Ask the Dentist: Straight talking about braces

Prominent or protruding teeth can be addressed from as young as seven, but it's never too late, says Lucy Stock of Gentle Dental Care

It's never too late to have braces to address protruding teeth
Lucy Stock

ROGER Taylor and Brian May's knee-jerk reaction to Freddie Mercury's distinctive smile almost cost Queen their iconic singer.

Freddie's nippy reply to their initial rejection changed the course of history and led Queen to stardom: he enlightened them with the fact that he was bestowed four extra teeth which helped give him a vocal range most artists dream about, and then demoed it to really drive the point home.

Yet he remained self-conscious about his prominent teeth and grew a moustache in a bid to disguise them.

Insecure feelings of embarrassment and uneasiness are common in people with protruding teeth.

Freddie didn't get his teeth fixed as his overriding goal was to protect his voice. However, many people do want their teeth brought in.

Teeth with any malalignment issue can be the target of ridicule for bullies and regrettably protruding teeth tend to get banged and broken much more easily as they don't benefit from the protection of the lips.

Normally children start brace treatment between 10 to 14 years old, however there are circumstances when a trip to the orthodontist at a younger age would be most beneficial and prominent teeth is one of them.

If your child has protruding teeth, the orthodontist can assess them from as early as seven years old. At this stage, there are special braces that will harness the growth capability of the lower jaw and help to develop it as much as possible while at the same time bringing the upper teeth in somewhat.

This is called phase one of interceptive orthodontics. Phase two starts when the child is a teenager and at that time normal brace treatment is completed. In many cases, phase two is shorter for the young person.

Obviously, the combined time is longer, so deciding on early brace treatment would be based on whether the child would be able to tolerate two rounds without getting brace burnout and also be able (with the help of the adults) to keep the teeth clean enough around the braces so that the teeth don't decay.

Likewise, adults can have braces to bring in their teeth - it's never too late.

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