Prominent front teeth, also known colloquially as "buck teeth," often require years of orthodontic work to be straightened. Children who are currently treated for this particular misalignment usually go through a two-stage process that starts around age seven and ends when the child is close to 15 or 16 years of age. A new Cochrane review suggests, however, that a one-stage process that begins closer to age 10 may be equally effective.
Parents often want their child's bite corrected as quickly as possible, because they are more likely to be broken or completely knocked out of the mouth during an accident. They may also fear that child may be taunted or bullied because of their appearance. A team of researchers from the University of Manchester in England and the University of Washington School of Dentistry acknowledged the importance of these concerns, but noted that treating a child before they're physically ready may not be beneficial.
The results of their controlled trial suggested that two-stage treatment offered few benefits other than slightly reducing the risk of tooth damage while playing sports.
"There was no other benefit for having treatment early, age eight, as opposed to having treatment during adolescent age," said Kevin O'Brien, professor of orthodontics at the University of Manchester, in a press release. "The results of this review will provide information to allow the orthodontist to explain fully the potential risks of not having treatment when the child is eight years old."
O'Brien also noted that the results of the study should help orthodontists and parents figure out the best course of action for the child.
It's important to remember that this analysis focused on a particular type of misalignment. To get the most accurate orthodontic assessment for your child or yourself, contact an orthodontist in New York City today.