Family Friday: Orthodontics & Wisdom Teeth

This is the fourth in a four-part series that will appear on Fridays focusing on dental issues for families with children.

In previous Family Friday posts, we have discussed oral health during pregnancy, oral hygiene during your child’s first early years, and your son or daughter’s first dental visit.

The next steps in his or her oral development are losing their baby teeth and getting their permanent teeth, sometimes called adult teeth. These teeth don’t always come in straight. 

Thankfully, you can bring your child to any Beaumont Family Dentistry in Lexington for orthodontic care. Our patients come from Danville and Richmond and everywhere in between. If you live in Central Kentucky, we can help your family, too.

Later, your child’s wisdom teeth will arrive. Unfortunately, this is usually not a beneficial event. We will discuss the problems this can create, and how to address them.

Orthodontic Evaluation

When many people think of orthodontics, they think of teenagers wearing braces. We are confident that braces will continue to be used to straighten teeth for the foreseeable future.

But this doesn’t mean they are the only way to improve your teenager’s smile.

Before you settle on a treatment, you need to visit one of our offices for an orthodontic evaluation. If you are already one of our patients who come for routine cleanings and examinations, we have been watching how your child’s mouth has changed as his or her primary teeth fell out to make room for the permanent teeth to erupt.

Around your child’s 8th birthday, we like to take a closer look at his or her teeth to see if we can identify any problems early.

If we do, then we may recommend dentofacial orthopedics. This is an early intervention approach to orthodontics. By doing this, we may be able to eliminate or reduce the need for braces in the future.

When it’s time to determine if your child will need orthodontic treatment, we can conduct a thorough evaluation. This takes about 90 minutes. We will take X-rays, go over them with you, and discuss the goals for your teen’s orthodontic care.

We will discuss what kinds of treatments we provide and which ones may be good options for you. These include:

  • Metal braces
  • Clear ceramic braces
  • Fastbraces®
  • Invisalign®

Our office is considered and Invisalign Premier Provider, and Dr. Takacs is a Master Provider and trainer for Fastbraces. When we evaluate your son or daughter’s teeth, we will recommend treatments that we feel confident can do the job that your teen wants done.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth, which are the third and final set of molars to emerge, get their name because they usually erupt between the ages of 17 and 21. Presumably, you are wiser than when your other permanent teeth erupted.

Many people now consider wisdom teeth to be vestigial body parts, much like the appendix or our tonsils. They don’t serve any necessary purpose, and we usually only hear about them when they are causing a problem and need to be removed.

That’s certainly the case with wisdom teeth.

Archeologists have compared modern humans with our older ancestors. Through their research, they have found that on average ancient humans had larger mouths than we do today.

This meant they have more room for this last set of molars to fit. There are a couple hypotheses about why that may have been the case.

One hypothesis is that they ate a rougher diet than we do. This meant they could use the extra grinding surface to break down the foods they were eating.

Another hypothesis is that wisdom teeth were meant to replace other teeth that may have been lost during the course of our ancestors’ lives.

In spite of what they may have done for our predecessors, they generally create problems today. Without enough room to emerge, many wisdom teeth become partially or completely impacted. Some erupt somewhat, and others never break through the gumline.

Impacted teeth can increase your risk of oral health issues (like gum disease). They can also press your existing teeth out of position.

This is why a majority of Americans have their wisdom teeth removed. This is one of the few things that we don’t do in our practice, but if your teen should need this service, we can refer you to someone who we trust.

The Right Smile For Your Teen

When the time is right, bring your child to see us for a complete orthodontic evaluation. Our Lexington-area dentists can help you understand the options so you can make the right decision for your son or daughter.

To get started, call any Beaumont Family Dentistry location or fill out the online form for that office to make an appointment.