The Benefits of Braces
If you have missing teeth, crooked teeth or an overbite, braces may be the solution for you. Upon your dental exam, our doctors will be able to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision regarding your orthodontic treatment options. We will provide you with the personalized care and attention you deserve.
The benefits of orthodontic treatment often go beyond the obvious physical changes of an improved bite and straighter teeth; it’s also a great way to improve a person’s overall self-image. While having beautiful straight teeth is important, even more important is the need to alleviate any potential health problems associated with the teeth or jaw. Crooked teeth or jaw problems may contribute to improper cleaning of teeth, leading to tooth decay and, possibly, gum disease or total tooth loss. Orthodontic problems that go untreated can lead to chewing and digestion difficulties, speech impairments, and abnormal wear of tooth surfaces. Over time, excessive strain on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth can affect the jaw joints leading to problems such as headaches or face and neck pain.
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children get an orthodontic evaluation no later than age 7. Though orthodontic treatment can be done at any age, timely treatment ensures maximum dental health.
With all of the recent advancements in orthodontics, wearing braces has never been easier. State-of-the-art appliances and treatments are now available, from traditional metal braces, to clear and tooth colored brackets, to NASA type wires that are heat activated and require fewer adjustments! Some patients may even be candidates for treatment with Invisalign, a revolutionary way to straighten teeth using clear, retainer type aligners that require no braces or wires!
If treatment is necessary, we will thoroughly discuss which treatment option is best suited for you!
Reasons for orthodontic treatment (braces) adults & children:
Breathing or swallowing problems: Mouth breathing can lead to snoring and sleep apnea.
Crossbite: One or more upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth (towards the tongue).
Crowding: Involving extra teeth or malpositioned teeth.
Deep Overbite: The lower front teeth bite into the upper tissue of the upper teeth.
Disfiguring of the face & mouth: Affects the development of the jaw and position of the teeth.
Jaw & jaw joint pain
Missing or extra teeth: Due to tooth decay, injuries, or inherited problems.
Overjet (protruding upper teeth): Upper teeth that protrude beyond normal and are usually associated with a short lower jaw.
Self-image: An attractive smile can boost a person’s self-image and confidence.
Spacing between teeth: Teeth are missing or may be too small or too large.
Speech, chewing or biting problems
Underbite (lower jaw protrusion): Lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw.
Specific to children:
Finger or thumb sucking: These habits can cause protrusion of the upper incisor teeth, and mouth breathing.
Teeth erupting out of position: Can be guided to proper alignment.
What does orthodontic treatment involve?
Orthodontic treatment involves three phases:
1. Planning Phase: Your first couple of visits may include the following:
• A medical and dental history evaluation.
• Castings or “molds” of your teeth.
• Computer generated photograph of the head and neck that will aid in planning.
• Photographs of your face and mouth.
• X-rays of the teeth and jaws.
• After careful planning, your orthodontist will design and apply braces or fabricate custom-made appliances for you.
2. Active Phase: Active treatment involves visiting your orthodontist on a regular basis for adjustments and following specific treatment requirements to ensure successful treatment.
3. Retention Phase: When treatment is completed, the braces and/or appliances are removed and a new appliance is made. Usually these retainers are removable and will maintain the changes made to your teeth if worn continuously until the teeth and bone are stabilized in their new positions.
Treatment and retention times vary depending on each individual case. Your orthodontist will ensure you have a successful treatment for a beautiful smile that can last a lifetime.
Orthodontics can not only help straighten your teeth, giving you an appealing smile, but can greatly contribute to the health of your jaw, teeth and sometimes your overall health.
What Causes misalignment of teeth?
Many children are ambivalent about getting braces. On the one hand, they like the idea of perfect teeth, but on the other hand they are nervous about whether the braces will cause pain and discomfort. The good news is that the placement of orthodontic braces is not at all painful, and the end result will be a beautiful straight smile.
Although patients of any age can benefit from orthodontic braces, they tend to work much quicker on pre-teens and teenagers since they are still experiencing jaw growth. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children should first see an orthodontist around the age of seven years-old. An orthodontic examination may be beneficial before age seven if facial or oral irregularities are noted.
Poorly aligned teeth often cause problems speaking, biting and chewing. Most irregularities are genetic or occur as a result of developmental issues. Conversely, some irregularities are acquired or greatly exacerbated by certain habits and behaviors such as:
• Thumb or finger sucking
• Poor nutrition
• Prolonged pacifier use
• Poor oral hygiene
The orthodontist initially conducts a visual examination of the child’s teeth. This will be accompanied by panoramic x-rays, study models (bite impressions) and computer generated images of the head and neck. These preliminary assessments are sometimes known as the “planning phase” because they aid the orthodontist in making a diagnosis and planning the most effective treatment.
In many cases, the orthodontist will recommend “fixed” orthodontic braces for a child. Fixed braces cannot be lost, forgotten or removed at will, which means that treatment is completed more quickly. Removable appliances may also be utilized, which are less intrusive, and are generally used to treat various types of defects.
Fixed braces: Braces comprised of brackets which are affixed to each individual tooth, and an archwire which connect the brackets. The brackets are usually made of metal, ceramic, or a clear synthetic material which is less noticeable to the naked eye. After braces have been applied, the child will have regular appointments to have the braces adjusted by the orthodontist. Orthodontic elastic bands are often added to the braces to aid in the movement of specific teeth.
Headgear: This type of appliance is most useful to treat developmental irregularities. A headgear is a custom-made appliance attached to wire that is worn to aid in tooth movement. A headgear is intended to be worn for 12-20 hours r each day and must be worn as recommended to achieve good results.
Retainers: Retainers are typically utilized in the third phase (retention phase). When the original malocclusion has been treated with braces, it is essential that the teeth do not regress back to the original misalignment. Wearing a retainer ensures the teeth maintain their proper alignment, and gives the jawbone around the teeth a chance to stabilize.