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All Posts in Category: Orthodontics

When to take your child to an orthodontist

When should I take my child to an orthodontist?

Braces are more commonly worn by teenagers. However, increasingly more adults now choose to wear braces to straighten their teeth and correct their bites. Thankfully, braces are smaller and more technically advanced than they used to be — and some people even enjoy their bit of bling!

In this post we explain when to take your child to an orthodontist. If you find this useful, please share. Your questions or comments are welcome.

As a parent, you might have heard of other children getting full orthodontic treatment in their preteens; maybe you want the same for your child. You may feel that early treatment could reduce the need for treatment (and having wonky teeth) later on.

Avoiding the guess work

There is a good reason why major orthodontic treatment is usually applied to patients in their teenage or latter years. You see, by then, a patient’s bite has fully developed — all their adult teeth have come through.

As orthodontists, we prefer not to guess what a child’s teeth will do — treating a child too early relies on chance. For example, after having braces fitted at younger than ten, a child’s 12-year-old molar might grow incorrectly and result in more treatment (and additional expense) later on.

Treating preteens

At Turner Lim Orthodontists, we do like to see children at around the age of eight to nine. Though, as already mentioned, treatment is unlikely. Any orthodontic treatment we do carry out will likely be less involved, like fitting a removable plate or limited fixed braces.

One benefit of seeing a child at around nine is it enables us to spot problems early, like:

  • a tooth being prevented from growing
  • a tooth stuck across the bite, known as a cross bite
  • crowded or missing teeth.

Skeletal mismatches between the jaws can also be identified, and we can sometimes correct them early orthopaedically, rather than later on. This can be the case for someone with a very small lower jaw, which gives them a big overbite (overjet/buck teeth). This sort of bite can be linked to teasing and a higher risk of the teeth being knocked. In contrast, someone with a very big lower jaw may have to wait until their face has completely stopped growing.

What do your think? If you found this post useful, please share. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section.

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When do I need braces

What to expect during your first visit to an orthodontist

So, you’re unhappy with your teeth. Maybe they are crooked or stick out.

The obvious solution, of course, is to see a specialist orthodontist. Despite this, your nervousness about what to expect might be holding you back.

In this post I explain what to expect during your first visit to an orthodontist. If you find this useful please share. I welcome your feedback.

When you arrive at the clinic, you will first meet a treatment coordinator. They are a contact person who will answer any questions you have, during or after your visit.

It is important we know a bit about you before we begin. So, your treatment coordinator will ask you to complete a questionnaire where you’ll be asked about your medical history and why you decided to come and see us.


Usually, we’ll take an x-ray using an OPG x-ray machine that rotates around your head. This machine will show all the teeth in your mouth as well as any that are developing. At this point we sometimes take photographs of your face and teeth.

Then either me, Dr. Fiona Turner, or my colleague, Dr. Donna Lim, will examine you. This involves studying your whole face and how your teeth fit within it. Then, we’ll examine your teeth and bite in more detail. We also find out what you want to achieve from having orthodontic treatment. We aim to do our very best to meet your expectations.

Once the examination is complete, we’ll show you what’s happening in your mouth — either using a mirror to show inside your mouth or with photographs taken during your x-ray — and discuss treatment options.

Is the timing right?

Sometimes, even if you want to, we can’t begin treatment immediately — the timing must be right. For example, children sometimes have to wait for their teeth to grow. Or, a patient might have a condition like gum disease, which needs to be treated first. In a situation like this we refer them to a specialist. Everyone is unique in terms of the right timing for their orthodontic treatment.

Affordable orthodontic treatment

Our goal is to make orthodontic treatment achievable. So, if you decide to go ahead with orthodontic treatment, we will take you through a range of flexible, affordable payment options tailored to your situation.

I hope this post has shed some light on what it’s like to visit an orthodontist for the first time.

If you found this useful please share. I welcome your comments.

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Turner Lim Orthodontists: Luca’s Experience

Turner Lim Orthodontists provide a broad range of orthodontic care. This post details the recent treatment of eight-year-old Luca De Biasio.

The problem

Luca visited Turner Lim with his mum, Eloise, after his school dental nurse noticed his six-year-old molars (the first adult molars a child develops at about six years of age) were growing off course.

Dr. Fiona Turner: “Luca’s six-year-old molars should have been growing behind his baby molars; instead, they were growing directly beneath. If left untreated, they would have eventually caused his baby molars to fall out prematurely. Because Luca’s six-year-old molars were too far forward, there would also be no room for his adult pre-molars to grow into his mouth.”

The treatment

To fix the problem, Dr. Turner says that Luca’s six-year-old molars needed to be pushed towards the rear of his mouth. To do this, she used a Halterman Appliance.

“With this appliance, ‘little wings’ are attached to the baby molar. Then an extension arm, much like a fishing rod, is attached to a little button on the six-year-old molar. This provides the necessary pressure to push the six-year-old molar back,” she says.

Halterman appliance

A picture showing how a Halterman Appliance is fitted

Working with kids

Dental or orthodontic treatment can be traumatic for anyone, let alone an eight-year-old boy. This is why Dr. Turner says it’s important to be open with patients. With Luca, she and her staff made a point of explaining to him what was happening as much as possible. “He needed to be comfortable with what was going on,” she says.

Luca’s mum, Eloise: “Luca is a bit of a ‘panicer’ and was quite nervous about the treatment. But they made him feel comfortable — everyone was very friendly and supportive. He was always happy to go to his appointments, even though it might hurt a bit.”

Because Luca was only eight years old, his mouth was small. So, the application of a Halterman Appliance was more complicated than if used on an adult.

Eloise: “There were two appliances fitted on his top and bottom jaw — they were quite massive.”

Eloise says that the appliance caused swelling to Luca’s cheek, so it needed to be adjusted several times.

“Turner Lim was very responsive. Whenever I phoned to make appointment, they were available straight away,” says Eloise. “Despite the extra appointments, the lump sum I paid at the beginning didn’t change.”

The result

Dr. Turner says that Luca’s treatment took about four months and his six-year-old molars are now in the correct position.
“Luca’s baby molars will now stay in his mouth for the appropriate amount of time, which is 11 to 12 years, and his adult teeth will develop normally,” says Dr. Turner.

Eloise: The clinic is modern and well designed — it’s a cheerful and happy place. Despite some discomfort, Luca was always happy to go to his appointments and was confident the treatment would work — and it did.

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