Will Time (Instead of Treatment) Fix Orthodontic Problems?


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Dear Dr. Barakat,

If I have my child wait for braces, can time and natural growth correct an orthodontic problem?


Dear Concerned Parent,

Orthodontic issues are rarely self-correcting; in fact, they may worsen over time, as permanent teeth are larger than primary teeth.

Orthodontists prefer to see young patients, around age 7, to identify orthodontic issues that exist or may become a problem shortly, such as overbite, misalignment, crossbite, and underbite. As soon as the permanent teeth have begun to erupt, their formation and growth can be monitored; and corrective measures can begin in a timely manner.

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Because a child’s mouth is still growing, their tissues are more flexible than they will be in adulthood. Early intervention in orthodontic issues can create more space for permanent teeth and reduce the need for permanent teeth extractions.

Since children can be cruel about teasing, a marked malocclusion like “buck teeth” benefits from orthodontic correction sooner rather than later. If your child wears braces as a pre-teen, then hopefully, they will be less self-conscious as an adolescent. Of course, with all-but-invisible options like Invisalign Teen or clear braces available, a teenager’s bite and appearance can be improved, along with his or her self-esteem, during the high school years.

As a parent, you know when your child is ready and responsible enough for the extra oral hygiene measures most braces require. Your orthodontist will be glad to discuss the maturity levels associated with successful treatment using various types of braces or Invisalign at your child’s initial orthodontic consultation.

Orthodontists prescribe retainers post-treatment to keep a corrected bite in place, as teeth “like” to shift even in adulthood.


Dr. Rana Barakat, a board-certified specialist in Orthodontics, has been proudly serving Northern Virginia for more than 20-years! She has built her practice on a personal touch and excellent treatment.

As a parent, she understands wanting the best for your children by giving them beautiful, confident smiles. She makes it a priority to ensure optimal results, but also believes that each patient’s experience during treatment is just as important as the clinical result. As the 2015-16 President of the Virginia Association of Orthodontists, Dr. Barakat’s dedication and expertise reflect why her peers continue to nominate her as a Top Dentist.

Barakat Orthodontics is located at 45745 Nokes Blvd., Ste. 175, Sterling, VA 20166. Connect by visiting them online, or get social with them on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. Barakat Orthodontics can also be reached at (703) 433-9330.


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