Contemporary Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics
Board Certified Treatment for Children, Teens and Adults
Please do not confuse your Google search
with my Dental Degree …
Technology is great; the ability to reach out into the web and answer just about any question you may have in less than 10 seconds is a great service. However, with this unlimited access comes a multitude of contrary information; a world of opinions that seem impossibly opposite for even the most simple and straight-forward inquires. Who do you trust?
Whether it is the local “Moms and Tots” chat room, the “Neighborhood Exchange” Facebook page or a major search engine, no one knows the specifics of your orthodontic needs until they have seen you or your child personally and usually not until a few radiographic films are taken. So many times when monitoring these sites, I have seen well-intentioned (I assume) individuals equating their past experiences with someone else’s child; for example:
“Well I had braces early and everything moved so don’t do braces until your child is a teen (or older).”
“I’ve seen kids that have had early treatment like expansion and now their face is wider and my kid didn’t get it and they are fine.”
“My son had an underbite and we didn’t do anything early (or at all) and everything turned out just fine; that orthodontist just wants money!”
“My dentist said he could do the same work any orthodontist could provide for less money.”
Of course the obvious question is have you seen their kids or even their own teeth (what are they using as reference when comparing a great smile)? Secondly, every case is as individual as the patient. Not every kid needs expansion and there are many degrees of need; do you want a more stable outcome? Do you want to avoid removal of permanent teeth? Do you want to avoid surgery later? Do you want a compromised bite/smile later for you or your child?
And not everyone views esthetics the same way you will with your family. It is real easy for a stranger to tell you your kid will be okay without treatment or that your teeth “look fine”. I am regularly amazed that someone would let a stranger or even a friend that knows nothing about medicine or dentistry sway them against the advice of a Board Certified Specialist because of some generic experience or misconception they may have formed (likely from 2nd hand knowledge themselves). I have seen adults with atrocious malocclusions telling others how unnecessary orthodontics may be or how they never needed braces as if the only definition of “need” is life or death! Sure, crowding with jaw pain and teeth that don’t touch in the front won’t kill you; buck teeth and an overjet that allows little Johnny to put a whole finger between upper and lower teeth isn’t life-threatening (though he will likely break those teeth that stick out). But they will seem so as Little Johnny gets older and then cannot be corrected without breaking his jaw and/or removing teeth.
“It is really easy for a stranger to tell you your kid will be okay without treatment”
That’s not to say the web is not a great place to get good information and to formulate educated questions for your Orthodontist; sometimes you really don’t know what to ask if you have not been through orthodontic treatment with other kids or yourself. But you should be very cautious of anyone telling you what to do with you or your kids’ teeth if these advisers are not going to be there to pay for future issues, to comfort you or your kids when someone points out a less than stellar smile or when perfectly good teeth must be removed because nothing was done early to make room for teeth.
The fact is that Orthodontists can provide beautiful and fully functional smiles in even the most crowded and severe malocclusions however they are limited by the timing they have to work with, growth, eruption of teeth, jaw size and compliance. A patient that requires expansion to restore arch width early (from airway problems, thumb-sucking, allergies and mouth breathing or just plain genetics) may need only an expander and limited braces later; that same patient may require removal of permanent teeth or even surgery to restore arch size later if not simply expanded early. Either way, the child can be “corrected” but one method is easier, cheaper and provides a better and more stable smile; one fixes 100%, the other method struggles to correct to 75%.
So be cautious with online “advisers” telling you what is best for you or your child because of some opinion they may hold (or some other motive). Realize that no one cares more about you or your family then you! Trust in the professional, the doctor that has spent his/her life studying and perfecting the movement of teeth and restoration of malocclusions. Trust your Orthodontist to provide you with specific and accurate care with knowledge and experience gained over years of training and continued education. You will have enough to deal with varying treatment recommendations between doctors! Find a good, stable local Orthodontist (Board Certification is a plus but not necessary) that has his/her own building and a good reputation; someone who will be there for you and your family for years to come; someone who has friendly staff and takes the time to explain treatments with you. Once you find that Orthodontist, trust them and let them provide for you what they were trained to provide; a beautiful, functional and lasting smile.
If you have questions or comments concerning this or any orthodontic question, please feel free to make a complimentary new-patient appointment at either my Steiner Ranch location or my North-central Austin location on West 35th street and MoPac.
Dr. James R. Waters is a 1996 graduate from UTHSC Dental School in San Antonio, 1997 graduate of Advanced Dentistry from the UNMC in Nebraska and the 2001 Valedictorian graduate from the prestigious Saint Louis University Orthodontic Program receiving the J.P. Marshall award for clinical excellence in 2001. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, Doctorate in Dental Surgery, a post-doctorate certificate in Advanced Dentistry, post-doctorate Degree in Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics and a Master of Science Degree in Orthodontics. Dr. Waters and his wife of 19 years live in Austin, TX with their 4 children where he has a thriving, multi-faceted Specialist practice with locations in Steiner Ranch and North-Central Austin. You can learn more about Dr. Waters at BracesAustin.com.
1814 W. 35th Street
Austin, TX 78703
4302 N. Quinlan Park
Austin, TX 78732