NOA, orthodontic treatment and Nigerian child
The Nigerian Association of Orthodontists (NAO) is an association with the vision to be the leading association of excellence in the advancement and promotion of Orthodontic practice in Nigeria and throughout the world.
The objectives of the Association include increasing knowledge and awareness through education of the causes, prevention and treatment of malocclusion. The Association also aims to promote high ethics and standards in the clinical practice of orthodontics in Nigeria.
The benefits of orthodontic treatment include not only improved bite and straighter teeth but also improved self image and self esteem – A beautiful smile for a lifetime.
Orthodontics for children
NAO recommends that your child gets the first orthodontic check-up by the age of seven years. Also your child’s first visit to the dentist is as soon as the first tooth appears or by the age of one year. At the age of seven years, it will be determined if there is a problem or if a problem is developing. Some orthodontic problems are easier to correct when discovered early. It saves time and future expenses when the appropriate treatment is recommended and started at the appropriate time.
Most orthodontic treatment (braces) begin between the ages of nine and 14. Your orthodontist will advise you on the best time to begin. If treatment is needed early, your orthodontist can
•Guide the growth of the jaws of your child favourably
•Correct harmful oral habits e.g. thumb/finger- sucking, tongue thrusting etc.
•Improve the way the upper and lower lips meet
•Reduce the risk of injury to protruded front teeth
•Guide the permanent teeth into a more favourable position
•Improve appearance and self-esteem
How to recognize when the bite is not right
It may not be easy to see that there are orthodontic problems especially when you are not trained for it. Sometimes teeth that look straight may be hiding an unhealthy bite.
If you notice any of these, take your child to the dentist who would subsequently refer you to an orthodontist.
•Early loss of baby teeth
•Late loss of baby teeth e.g. double row of teeth
•Upper and lower teeth do not meet or meet in an abnormal way
•Harmful oral habits e.g. thumb/finger- sucking, lip sucking, tongue thrusting etc.
•Crowded / crooked teeth (not enough space for the teeth)
•Difficulty in chewing or biting
•Breathing through the mouth
•Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
•Jaws are positioned too forward or too backward
•Grinding or clenching of the teeth
•An unbalanced appearance of the face
Give your child a gift of a healthy smile for life
When teeth are well arranged, they look good and feel good. They contribute to good dental health and the ability to speak, chew and bite without embarrassment and discomfort. Poorly aligned teeth will lead to dental problems. If your child needs orthodontic treatment (braces), take your child to the orthodontist by the age of seven years.
The earlier, the better the outcome
As a parent, you want the best for your child including healthy teeth and a pleasing smile for life. This starts with regular dental care.
The Nigerian Dental Association and the Nigerian Association of Paediatric Dentistry recommend that your child’s first visit to the dentist is as soon as the first tooth appears or by the age of one year. Also try to observe your child’s dentition and record dates of when teeth are erupting from the jaws and also when the teeth fall out as your child grows.
The NAO recommends that your child gets the first orthodontic check-up by the age of seven years. Do not wait until all the baby teeth have fallen out.
Early orthodontic visit will ensure proper alignment of the teeth and jaws before the growth of the teeth and jaws is finishedand your child will have optimal dental health.
Choosing an orthodontist
An orthodontist is a dentist who has undergone more training and specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The orthodontist will help straighten and arrange your child’s teeth to give your child a healthy, beautiful and a more confident smile.
Choose the right orthodontist; ensure they are members of the NAO.
* Courtesy of NAO website: www.nao-ng.org