Dental appearance can contribute to teasing and bullying at school…and at home.
If so, a referral to an orthodontist may be a good idea for opinion on whether brace treatment might help.
How much harm is done by bullies?
Bullying, including cyber-bullying, is a global phenomenon.
A recent review paper (link below) suggests 26% of 8-9 year-olds and 15% of 11-12 year-olds in the UK are bullied “sometimes or more often”.
Teasing is a milder form of aggressive behaviour and defined as being of no harm to the recipient. However if “teasing” causes distress and harm, it should be regarded as bullying.
The effects of bullying can include anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. These can extend into adulthood.
When teeth become part of the problem at school
The relationship between dental appearance and “psychosocial wellbeing” is complex.
However most studies suggest that certain dental problems in children can cause others to form opinions on them, such as how “attractive” they are, how likely they are to make friends…even how likely they are to do well in their career.
These conditions include sticking out front teeth or very crooked teeth.
How can the orthodontist help?
If your child is being bullied, this should be taken seriously. If this is occurring at school, then the teaching staff should be informed.
If it is felt that a child’s teeth are a contributory factor, then your dentist may suggest a referral to an orthodontist for an opinion. Sticking out teeth and crooked teeth are common causes of problems.
The orthodontist will be able to advise whether brace treatment is likely to improve your child’s dental appearance. Read more about what happens on the first visit to the orthodontist.
Sometimes it may be too early to start treatment. You can read more about what age braces can be provided.
It is important to note that there may be additional reasons for bullying: brace treatment may not automatically make the problem go away.
Also sometimes the appearance of braces can itself cause teasing …although that is not so much the case these days as braces are so popular. Read more on how braces have become the “in thing” over the last few years.
Will NHS brace treatment be available?
That depends on how “bad” the teeth are.
NHS treatment is available to those who qualify according to a scale called the IOTN scale ( the Index for Orthodontic Need).
The scale does take into account problems such as protruding teeth and crowding. However there is no score given to “psycho-sociological wellbeing” in itself.
Read more about orthodontists decide whether children and teenagers qualify for NHS treatment in England.
Adult orthodontic treatment
Many adults come to Cleveland Orthodontics with dental problems which they wish they had sorted out when they were younger.
Brace treatment can be for people of all ages these days. Using modern white and “invisible” brace techniques, orthodontic treatment has become a real option for many adults.
Bullying in schoolchildren – its relationship to dental appearance and psychosocial implications: an update for GDPs
Organisations providing bullying support
About Cleveland Orthodontics
Our specialist-led practice has been established since 1996 and provides brace treatment to people of all ages from across the North East and Teesside, including Middlesbrough, Yarm, Stockton-on-Tees, Billingham and Redcar.
We offer NHS orthodontic treatment for children and a range of modern white and “invisible” braces for adults of all ages such as Invisalign. FREE consultations are available… you can either telephone for an appointment on 01642 243 020 or book through our website.