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FAQ:  Orthodontics - Children - Teens

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Orthodontics Ask The Dentist - Edward Leventhal Question:
I have a 12 year old son, who has an underbite. His lower jaw is growing out of proportion and the orthodontist told me that he needs jaw surgery and on top of this, he has overcrowded and crooked teeth. Could you please tell me what the criteria are for recomending surgery and the pros and cons of it. Are braces recommended? ...Grace

Grace, if your son has a lower jaw that is growing at a faster rate than the top jaw, then yes, he would eventually need surgery, possibly around 18, 19 years old (when most of his growing is complete). Braces are definitely needed to align the teeth together especially if he needs to have teeth taken out in combination with surgery.

Surgery is performed while the patient is in treatment - so once he's finished surgery, he would have six months or so of braces left. Just remember, timing is very critical, he would most likely need to have braces prior to surgery, so most likely a year and a half before surgery. So if surgery is likely, then the braces should go on around 17 years of age (approximately). The best thing you can do for your son, is to get a second and even a third opinion from other orthodontists in your area. Hope this helps.

Edward Leventhal, DDS
Baltimore Cosmetic Implant Dentistry
8860 Belair Road
Baltimore, MD 21236
(410) 256-7300

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