Having beautiful straight teeth is important for the cosmetic appearance but even more important is the need to alleviate any potential health problems associated with the malocclusions. Misaligned teeth or jaw problems may contribute to improper cleaning of teeth, leading to tooth decay and gum disease or even a total tooth loss.
Orthodontic problems that go untreated can lead to chewing and digestion difficulties, speech problems and abnormal and fast wear of tooth surfaces.
The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that children get an orthodontic evaluation no later than age 7. Even though orthodontic treatment can be done at any age, timely treatment ensures maximum benefit for good dental health.
State-of-the-art appliances and treatments are now available in modern orthodontic dentistry, from traditional metal braces, to clear and tooth colored brackets. 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 your particular case.
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.
Crowding – Involving malpositioned teeth due to not enough space in the jaws.
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.
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.
Reasons Specific to Children
Finger or thumb sucking – These habits can cause protrusion of the upper teeth, and mouth breathing.
Teeth erupting out of position – Can be guided to proper alignment.
What Does Orthodontic Treatment Involve?
Orthodontic treatment involves these 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.
- Photographs of your face and mouth.
- X-rays of the teeth and jaws.
- After careful planning, your orthodontist will design and apply the best treatment option for you.
2. Active Phase – Active treatment involves visiting your orthodontist on a regular basis for adjustments and following specific requirements to ensure a successful treatment.
3. Retention Phase – When treatment is completed, the braces and/or appliances are removed. Retainers are made for you to wear to maintain the changes made to your teeth. Retainers have to be worn continously until the teeth and bone have stabilized.
Have in mind that treatment and retention times vary depending on each individual case.