Scientific research shows us why your child is more likely to say “Thank you” instead of “I hate you” when you take him to his first orthodontic consultation.

Most of the orthodontic-related problems can be identified at a young age, as early as age seven. They are usually genetic and the most common ones can include: an overbite, an underbite, wide-spaced teeth, teeth protrusion or teeth crowding. Although it’s genetics at play and although they are very common, a minor misalignment in the jaw or the teeth can have a great impact on our child’s self-esteem and overall quality of life.

Most of the days our children are surrounded by their peers when growing up. They play together, learn together and discover new things. Yet at times, they can also be very honest and tease each other. Our children’s behavior is not very different from ours though.

Research shows us that in social interactions, the listener’s attention is mainly directed toward the mouth and the eyes of the speaker. We can easily see why a small gap between a child’s two front teeth can be easy pickings for any peer.

This minor gap, left untreated can slowly grow into a canyon in our child’s self-image, especially growing-up in a culture that reinforces the message that “beauty is good”. Most of the toys and most of the televisions shows our children consume today portray the image of a perfect smile and perfect teeth. Barbie dolls, action and television heroes are the ones with attractive teeth, in contrast to villains whose teeth are crooked in discolored. It doesn’t get any easier for our children when they enter adolescence either. This is the time when they start to compare themselves to models in television and magazine ads who often display teeth that are not only perfectly aligned but also bleached and with ideal proportions

  • Thompson L, Malmberg J, Goodell N, Boring R. The distribution of attention across a talker’s face. Discourse Process 2004; 38:145–68.
  •  Klages U, Zentner A. Dentofacial aesthetics and quality of life. Semin Orthod 2007; 13(2):104–15.
  •  Mattic CR, Gordon PH, Gillgrass TJ. Smile, aesthetics, and malocclusion in UK teenage magazines using the index of orthodontic treatment need (IOTN). J Orthod 2004; 31:17–9.

This would explain why we also tend to pay particular attention to the appearance of our face and our oral cavity. Researchers have found a consistent pattern of moderate to high satisfaction with different parts of the body, but much lower self-ratings of the face among patients seeking conventional or surgical orthodontics. There is also a striking difference between patients’ satisfaction with their faces as opposed to other parts of their bodies when assessed before they undergo treatment.
Negative self-image and lower self-esteem are not the only areas of life affected by an unattractive smile. Good-looking teeth can secure academic and professional success as well. Attractive children and adults generally receive more favorable judgments and academic and performance reviews than do unattractive individuals.

All of the effects above especially applies to children with more prominent or severe orthodontic problems. Research has shown up to three times higher measures of dental impacts on oral health-related quality of life in these children, compared to those with minor or no orthodontic issues.

  • H. Asuman Kiyak, M.A., Ph.D. Does Orthodontic Treatment Affect Patients’ Quality of Life? – Cross ref.
  • Langlois J, Kalakanis L, Rubenstein A, Larson A, Hallam M, Smoot M. Maxims or myths of beauty? A meta-analytic and theoretical review.Psychol Bull 2000; 126:390–423.
  • Johal A, Cheung MYH, Marcenes W. The impact of two different malocclusion traits on quality of life. Br Dent J 2007; 33:1–4.

These are just some of the reasons to take your child to his first orthodontic consultation. Orthodontic problems are best met when faced at an early age, as soon as age 7. We also shouldn’t forget about the effect an orthodontic intervention can have on the long-term oral health of your child. That is just another reason to pick up the phone and make the first orthodontist appointment. You might not hear it right away, but that long-awaited “Thank you” is right behind the corner. It’s scientifically guaranteed.

Among other orthodontic services, we at Orthodontic Excellence use three types of braces solutions which represent the latest in orthodontic technology: In-Ovation System Clear Braces, Lingual Inside Braces and Invisalign which is a clear way to straighten teeth without braces, using aligners.

We offer treatment at three offices in Puyallup, Newcastle, and Bellevue. Our doctors can travel between offices to provide treatment to various patients, and we will be happy to accommodate you at the nearest location. Schedule a complementary consultation today.