ORTHODONTICS: CHOOSE WISELY!
For parents embarking upon orthodontic treatment to advance the health and facial appearance of their children, there is much concern among the world’s scientific community over the lack of science in current clinical practise.
Conventional orthodontic treatment is unable to replicate the straight teeth that develop naturally when the mouth is closed and the tongue is resting in the roof of the mouth. According to orthodontist Dr John Flutter, “the best aligned teeth I see are people who never had orthodontic treatment.”
Traditional orthodontics recognises the cause of crooked teeth as a result of teeth being too large for the jaws. The approach is to wait until the child is twelve years of age or older before treatment begins. Normally, two to four teeth are extracted to make room for existing teeth, which are then aligned with braces. UK-based Channel Four programme called Dispatches that aired during December 1999, queried whether the standard orthodontic treatment of extractions to make room for teeth actually damages a child’s face.
The programme showed that parents who bring their children with crooked teeth to an orthodontist are not told that the treatment could cause serious damage.
During the programme, 700 UK families were interviewed. More than half of the children undergoing treatment had teeth extracted. A comparison was made with treatment in California, where extractions take place in only 15% of cases.
There, many orthodontists apply expandable braces to gently widen the jaws to make room for the teeth. In addition, children are taught exercises, including correct swallowing and nasal breathing, as part of their treatment.In an interview with the British newspaper The Independent, Dr Mew is quoted as follows: “I frequently see examples of faces which have been really badly spoiled. In my personal opinion, probably about 20 per cent of orthodontic patients are noticeably damaged and maybe another 30 per cent are slightly damaged.”
The article further adds that extraction of teeth can result in “long-term damage to the skull, jaw pain and headaches as a result of orthodontic dentistry. In the worst cases, they suffer ringing in the ears, postural problems leading to muscle pain in the neck, shoulders and back, and extreme headaches.”
The best advice if you are considering orthodontic treatment for your child is to ask your orthodontist whether there will be room for all 32 teeth and also check that the vertical growth of the child’s face will not be increased. If you don’t receive such an assurance, you might be wise to ask for a second opinion.
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