Malocclusion and Orthodontics - When To Call a Doctor
- Call your dentist or orthodontist immediately for a dental emergency, such as the loss of a
tooth or if a broken orthodontic device (appliance) prevents you from opening
or closing your mouth. For more information, see the topic
Mouth and Dental Injuries.
- Call for an appointment with your orthodontist or dentist if
nonprescription pain relievers don't ease appliance-related pain or if your
appliance has loose brackets or bands, distorted wires, or wires that are too
long and irritate the inside of your cheeks.
Start your child's dental visits at a young age, both to
help your child become familiar with a dentist and to watch for any early
malocclusion problems. Keep up with regular dental
checkups (twice a year). For more information, see the topic
Basic Dental Care.
Watchful waiting is when you and your doctor
watch symptoms to see if a health condition improves on its own. If it does, no
treatment is necessary. If symptoms don't get better or get worse, then it’s
time to take the next treatment step.
Watchful waiting is often
fine for children with malocclusion. Keep in mind that the early years, when
the jawbone is still growing, are the best time for
braces . Some people wait until they are adults before
straightening their teeth. After you talk with a dentist or orthodontist about
your or your child's situation, it’s usually up to you to decide the timing of
Who To See
dentist or a pediatric (children's) dentist can give
dental care, a first checkup for orthodontic treatment, and simple orthodontic
Dentists who have 2 years or more of extra training
in a specific area treat more complex dental problems. Dental specialists who
treat different aspects of malocclusion are:
- Orthodontists, who straighten
- Prosthodontists, who replace missing
- Periodontists, who treat or prevent gum (periodontal) disease.
- Oral surgeons (maxillofacial surgeons), who surgically treat structural
problems of the jaw, face, head, or neck.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.