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Braces help create a healthy, straight smile
Updated: 10/3/2008 12:00:40 PM

Braces help create a healthy, straight smile People of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatment, but it is most common between the ages of eight and 14, when a child's mouth is still growing.

The American Association of Orthodontists advises parents that children should make their first visit to an orthodontist when they are no older than seven for a checkup and assessment.

Some of the signs that may prompt a parent to bring their child in for this type of dental checkup include an early or late loss of baby teeth, thumb or finger sucking, difficulty chewing or biting, and crowded teeth.

Meanwhile, parents should also be on the lookout for teeth that are not in proportion to the rest of the face, jaws that shift and teeth that meet in an abnormal fashion.

All of these signs may become noticeable as a child's permanent teeth come through, between the ages of six and 12.

Today, there are a variety of different options for straightening teeth. Braces may be made of metal, ceramic or plastic. They may be bonded to teeth or attach to the backs of teeth.

Some orthodontic patients wear clear appliances known as aligners, which may be removed for eating, brushing and flossing.
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