#bullyingbites - National Bullying Prevention Month

October 1st, 2022

Every October, the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) and 18,000+ orthodontists around the country recognize and celebrate National Orthodontic Health Month, a month dedicated to promoting awareness about the benefits of orthodontic treatment and the importance of having healthy, well-aligned teeth and a healthy bite. More recently, the AAO has shifted its focus during the month of October towards another important cause – National Bullying Prevention Month. The AAO began the #bullyingbites campaign several years ago to raise awareness about the impact of bullying, and to encourage its members to come together and take a stand against bullying.

One out of five adolescents in America between the ages of 12 and 18 experience bullying on a yearly basis – and teeth are the #1 feature bullies target – according to a study published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. Children and adolescents are not the only ones affected by bullying, though. Seven out of ten adults report feeling self-conscious about their teeth and smile. Furthermore, a study conducted by OnePoll concluded that 57% of Americans cover their mouths when they laugh because they feel insecure about their teeth, and half of adults smile with their mouth closed to avoid showing their teeth. Yet again, in the adult population, teeth were the #1 insecurity.

More and more adults are seeking orthodontic treatment to address these insecurities, and parents oftentimes seek orthodontic treatment for their children at an early age (typically between the ages of eight and ten, once the front permanent teeth have come in) in hopes of reducing some of the negative comments made by peers about their child’s teeth. Some parents report that their children will say, “I don’t like my front teeth”, “I don’t like the gap between my teeth”, or “my friends tease me about my teeth”. While there are several functional reasons to provide treatment at an early age (e.g. having a crossbite in the front or crossbite in the back), having social or aesthetic concerns about teeth is a reason to provide treatment at any age.

Nowadays, braces can even be the “cool” thing to have – and for some, simply getting them shows their friends that they are working on improving their teeth and smile, which can be enough to reduce some of the negative comments made by peers. Children and adolescents who anticipate orthodontic treatment expect an improvement in their social and psychologic well-being. Adults expect the same improvement, and for adults (as well as teens), many prefer aesthetic treatment options like clear aligners or clear braces, so they can improve the alignment of their teeth without the metal that was a staple of orthodontic treatment years ago.

It is no secret that orthodontic treatment can have a significant positive impact on an individual’s confidence, self-esteem, and quality of life. Thankfully, there are treatment options to fit most individual’s preferences, needs, and lifestyle. There are enough things we have to deal with as adults and parents, and bullying shouldn’t be one of them. At Doswell Orthodontics, we pledge to take a stand against bullying and help create healthy, beautiful, confident smiles, so children, teens, and adults never feel self-conscious about their teeth. I think we can all agree #bullyingbites.

When should your child see an orthodontist?

July 26th, 2022

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child see an orthodontist at age 7 to evaluate eruption timing and pattern and determine whether or not there are any orthodontic problems that need to be addressed early. At age 7, children typically have their 6-year molars in place and have lost 2-6 baby teeth, so we can start to see the eruption patterns present with his/her permanent teeth.

Although we recommend the first visit at age 7, we see patients of all ages, and each patient is unique and different. Kids, teens, and adults seek orthodontic treatment for various reasons. Our job is to customize your plan to meet your orthodontic needs and make orthodontic treatment a stress-free and fun process for you and/or your child. That process starts with your new patient consultation appointment.

What happens at your new patient consultation appointment?

Your consultation appointment is fun, easy, and free! We will take some photos, take a look at your child’s/your teeth, and take one or two x-rays to evaluate growth and tooth development, eruption, and position.

What do we look for at your child’s first visit?

  • Are things happening symmetrically within the mouth?
  • Were any baby teeth lost earlier than expected?
  • Are permanent teeth developing and coming in when and where they should be?
  • Are the permanent canines developing in the right place?
  • Are there any missing or extra teeth?
  • Is there enough space for the permanent teeth to come in?
  • Are there any habits (e.g. thumb sucking) that might need to be addressed?
  • How is your child growing? Is early growth leading to an overbite or underbite?
  • Is there a crossbite in the front or the back?

These are some of the things we can begin to evaluate at age 7, and although most patients don’t start orthodontic treatment until around age 11 or 12 (when all or most of the permanent teeth are in), studies have shown that some early treatment, such as crossbite correction, is most beneficial and effective starting at age 8 because of tooth eruption patterns and growth patterns (i.e. how and when your upper and lower jaws grow). By seeing your child around age 7, we can catch any orthodontic problems early and help prevent some orthodontic issues by intervening if needed. We take a conservative approach, and only recommend treatment if necessary. More often than not, we just need to monitor growth and eruption with orthodontic “check-ups”, called growth observation appointments, about every 6-12 months.

Do you need a referral to see an orthodontist?

Nope! Although many pediatric dentists and dentists can and do make referrals to orthodontists for specific reasons, you do not need a referral to see an orthodontist. Anyone can come see us without needing a referral! You can call (804-256-2808), email (info@doswellortho.com), or submit our online form https://www.doswellortho.com/schedule-a-free-consultation to set up your new patient consultation appointment. We can’t wait to meet you and get to know you and your family!