Orthodontics is a field of dentistry that deals with issues related to the alignment of your teeth, as well as facial and tooth irregularities. Typically braces and other types of therapy are used to correct bite issues as well as malocclusions. For the most part, children that reach 7 years of age should have their first orthodontic screening. At this age, it will be fairly easy to detect problems associated with teeth that will be emerging in the next few years.
In most cases, it will be best to start orthodontic treatment as soon as possible. Among other things, if the upper palate needs to be widened, it is fairly easy to accomplish prior to the teen years. This will also help ensure that permanent teeth do not wind up trying to erupt in a crowded space. You may also find that this simple procedure will ensure that your children do not have bite irregularities.
Today, millions of teenagers also make use of braces and retainers to correct bite and tooth alignment issues. If you are an adult, you may also benefit from orthodontic treatment. That said, once your bones harden, it will be more complicated to manage orthodontic issues. You may also need to address gum disease, as well as undergo different kinds of surgery to achieve the desired results.
Why Procedure Is Used
Braces, retainers, and other orthodontic devices are used to straighten teeth, as well close gaps in between teeth. An orthodontist can also correct irregular bites, as well as bring your mouth into proper alignment. While many people have an irregular bite pattern, it is often not addressed unless the teeth create a cosmetic eyesore. That said, a bad bite can also create problems when you are chewing and speaking.
An orthodontist will also play a role in cosmetic and implant procedures. Orthodontic care may also be required when permanent teeth are knocked out and replaced. In some cases, the tooth will fuse to the bone. This condition is known as ankylosis. Regardless of your age, this can cause bite irregularity.
Orthodontic treatment is very important for young children; as this is the best time to ensure jaws and adult teeth develop properly. Unfortunately, if primary, or baby teeth are knocked out, it can cause permanent teeth to erupt in the wrong places. Even though some bite disorders are inherited, others may be caused by injury, as well as prolonged use of a pacifier. A child's upper teeth may become overextended if they have a tendency to thrust their tongue forward when swallowing. Extensive pacifier usage can also lead to a similar condition.
Patient Concerns to be Addressed
Not so long ago, people simply put up with overbites, crossbites, crowded teeth, and other kinds of problems. Today, many people realize that trying to live with these conditions can affect self-confidence. Therefore, orthodontic treatment can be an important part of looking and feeling your best.
Some bite issues that can also affect your appearance include:
Deep overbite - Upper front teeth overlap lower teeth. In extreme situations, the upper front teeth may actually touch the lower gum surfaces. Lower teeth may also bite into the roof of the mouth.
Underbite - This is also referred to as a crossbite that of the front teeth. In this instance, lower teeth are situated in front of the upper teeth.
Open bite — When upper and lower teeth do not meet when your mouth is closed, a gap will exist between them. When you have an open bite, back teeth will have more pressure placed on them. Aside from leading to inefficient chewing patterns, it can lead to accelerated wear of your back teeth.
Spacing issues - missing teeth or disproportionate teeth can create spaces or gaps. If you have lost multiple teeth may also find that neighbouring teeth will move to fill the unoccupied areas.
Interestingly enough, when you have an irregular bite, it is also difficult to chew food properly. In severe cases, this can interfere with proper nutrition. Typically, when your mouth is properly aligned, it will be much easier to chew and digest foods. Misaligned teeth can also cause a number of speech impediments. Aside from this, when your teeth are properly aligned, it is much easier to brush and floss them. This, in turn, reduces the chances of developing gum disease, tooth decay, and excessive wear of back tooth surfaces.
There are many different kinds of braces to choose from. Prices range from $2,000 to $6,000. It will take from 1 to 3 years for braces to accomplish their job. You will need to check with your insurance carrier to find out if these treatments are covered.
Not so long ago, braces covered both front and back teeth. Newer technologies now allow for smaller braces, as well as ones that do not need to cover front teeth. Today, you can choose from a number of different materials. For example, you can use braces made from plastic, ceramic, or metal. That said, many orthodontic procedures still make use of stainless steel brackets. If you are concerned about appearance, plastic and ceramic braces can also be used. That said, plastic braces can become discoloured before they are removed. They will also create more friction on the brackets, as will ceramic braces.
How Procedure is Performed
Depending on your situation, your orthodontics may use a wide range of devices and therapies to correct the problems. While braces tend to be used most often, you may also be able to use retainers. In most cases, each device will apply slow and steady pressure in order to move teeth and bones into optimal positions.
In most cases, orthodontic treatment will be accomplished in phases. After an evaluation, braces and other devices will be used to move teeth and bones into better locations. This is known as the active phase of treatment. Once teeth are in their appropriate positions, a retainer maybe used to ensure the teeth do not move back out of alignment.
During the process of applying braces, an orthodontist will bond small brackets to each tooth. Next, he/she will place arch wires in each bracket. These wires are usually made from a number of metal alloys. You may also be able to have wires made from clear or white materials. Unfortunately, they tend to be more expensive, and may not work as well as metal wires. These wires will be used to move your teeth into their proper position. Your dentist may also use ligatures to hold the wires in place.
Once your teeth are in their proper position, it may be necessary to use a retainer until the bone and gums stabilise. This will most often be used after braces have been removed. You can expect to rely on a retainer until you are in your mid-20's, or until wisdom teeth erupt.
When you first get braces, your teeth may feel sore. This may also occur when your braces are being adjusted. Braces can also irritate your cheeks, tongue, and lips. These problems will usually disappear in a week or two. Usually, mild pain killers are sufficient for managing these types of discomfort.
For the most part, orthodontic treatment has few complications. That said, if you have an allergy to latex or metal, you may need to have braces made from different materials. Individuals with gum disease may also have additional complications from orthodontic treatment. In some cases, gum issues can also lead to tooth loss. Even though it is rare, some orthodontic procedures can cause your body to reabsorb tooth roots. Fortunately, this tends to be a rare occurrence.
Perils of Disease
Depending on your situation, it may take a good bit of work to correct orthodontic issues. In particular, if you are an adult, you may need to have jaw surgery, as well as treatment for gum disease. While you may need to see several dental specialists, eventually you should be able to have a perfect bite and smile. Even though your dentist may be willing to compromise with you on certain parts o the process, it will also affect the outcome. As may be expected, your orthodontist will give you detailed information about each scenario.