Orthodontic surgery aligns crooked teeth and enables them function properly, writes JOHN MUTURI
We nick named her mang’ethia, literally translated as one who stares with her teeth because her teeth protruded. I shared the desk with her in our lower primary school. Like everyone else, I was insensitive to her feelings. Her other nickname was ‘dracula’, which means a blood-sucking monster.
All these traumatised and totally eroded her self-confidence until she underwent a series of dental surgeries to correct the defect. I met her recently during a conference in Nairobi and chatted over old times.
After the specialised dental correction called orthodontic work, ‘dracula’s’ teeth became perfect. She didn’t have to hold her hand over her mouth when smiling.
She is an example of a child whose self-confidence was undermined by an unfortunate defect. Thanks to technology, a child doesn’t have to permanently suffer for what is not their fault.
Many children are born with teeth that are less than perfectly placed and shaped. This, however, is not necessarily a problem and only a few of them need a brace to correct the defect. Gaps between teeth usually close up without any specialised dental work.
What causes the problems?
A child inherits most of his or her physical features from both parents, but others are caused by certain factors.
Certain habits, such as lip biting, persistent thumb sucking and pressing the tongue against the top teeth, can also affect the growth and position of the teeth, especially if they already have a tendency to stick out.