Despite what many people think, orthodontic treatment is not only for children.
Orthodontists are specially-trained dentists who bring the teeth, jaw bones and facial profile into proper alignment.
They can therefore give you a better smile and improve your dental health.
It’s never too late to correct problems such as crooked or crowded teeth, bite problems, incorrect jaw position, or jaw-joint disorders.
The biological process involved in moving teeth is the same at any age.
However treatment for adults can take a little longer than for a child.
As an adult’s facial bones are no longer growing, certain corrections may not be accomplished with braces alone and sometimes surgery is required.
However, whatever your age, it’s never too late to improve your dental health and make your smile more beautiful.
Orthodontic treatment is used to correct a ‘bad bite’.
Bad bite – also called malocclusion – occurs when teeth are crowded or crooked.
Sometimes teeth may appear straight but, because the upper and lower jaws do not meet properly, you can have an uneven bite.
Jaw problems and teeth that are protruding, crowded or irregularly spaced can be inherited or may be caused by factors such as accidents or losing teeth prematurely.
Orthodontic treatment leads to a healthier mouth – and an important additional benefit is that it makes you look better by giving you a better smile.
When teeth are crowded or crooked, it is more difficult to clean the mouth properly.
This can lead on to tooth decay, gum disease and even loss of teeth.
When you have an improper bite, chewing and speaking can be more difficult.
This can cause abnormal wear to tooth enamel and can lead to problems with the jaws.
Orthodontic treatment can therefore lead to improvements in your health as well as making you look and feel better.
Though many people still picture a “mouthful of metal” when they think of braces, there are now many more options available.
Dental braces work by applying pressure to the teeth so that they move gradually into a new position.
The pressure usually comes from a metal wire attached to tiny brackets placed on each tooth.
These brackets are what used to create the “metal mouth”.
However modern brackets are much smaller and are glued on the front of each tooth.
Added pressure is applied to the teeth using rubber bands called ligatures.
They can be made to look more attractive using different colors or gimmicks.
In addition to the much-improved traditional braces, there are now many more options:
– Mini Braces: Smaller than traditional braces
– Clear Braces: Porcelain braces with tooth-colored brackets
– Lingual Braces: Placed behind the teeth to be less noticeable
– Removable Braces: Similar to mouthguards and made of clear plastic
Whichever types of braces you choose, they all work in the same way and help you have straighter teeth which leads to better dental health and a great smile.
Braces are orthodontic appliances that can help straighten out crooked and crowded teeth.
As well as making you look better, they can help improve your dental health.
Many people have been put off wearing them because of how they look but modern braces can be very inconspicuous.
One way of making them inconspicuous is by having the brackets – the part that attaches to each tooth – fixed to the back of the tooth.
The brackets can be also be made in many different materials such as metal, ceramic or plastic so they can be more attractive or less visible.
They can also be designed to appear less noticeable – say be being clear or tooth-colored.
You can also choose to have them in virtually any color. You can even have them gold-plated or glowing in the dark.
Some people like to have their braces shaped in as something distinctive such as a heart or a football.
Orthodontic treatment is about straightening out crooked and crowded teeth and may use special appliances such as braces.
While most dentists can deal with minor orthodontic problems, they will often refer patients to an orthodontist for more specialist care.
Orthodontists are dentists with additional training and they specialize in the treatment of dental and facial irregularities.
One of the key aspects of orthodontics is straightening teeth and correcting jaw alignment.
This can be done through braces, corrective procedures and other ‘appliances’.
There are two types of braces:
– Removable: The patient can take these out of their mouth at any time
– Fixed Braces: These are worn all the time and have to be removed by a dentist
The length of time a person needs to wear braces varies depending on the condition but most people wear braces for between one and three years.
After the braces are no longer needed, the person usually need to wear a ‘retainer’ for some time that holds teeth in their new position.
Modern braces are much more comfortable than ever and usually require fewer adjustments than older apparatus.
Here is the truth on some common myths about orthodontists
Myth – Any dentist can straighten my teeth.
Truth – An orthodontist is a specialist at straightening teeth with two or three years of additional training after dental school.
They usually see hundreds of orthodontic patients a year where some family dentists may see only a handful.
Myth – Only children wear braces
Truth – Around 20% of orthodontic patients are adults
Myth – You only need to see an orthodontist for very complex cases.
Truth – Orthodontists have wide experience and deal with all types of orthodontic issue. However, their wide experience means they know exactly what to do in the most complex cases.
Myth – Seeing an orthodontist is more expensive than going to a general dentists for orthodontic treatment.
Truth – They are usually doing different work. An orthodontist offers value as an expert, highly experienced professional with specific training in this field.
Myth – Braces are painful and take years to work
Fact – Like a new pair of shoes, braces are perfectly comfortable after an initial ‘breaking in’ or adjustment period. Braces can get results after just a few months.
Myth – Braces are ugly and embarrassing in business settings.
Truth – Today braces can be made from clear plastic and can be nearly invisible. They can also be mounted on the back side of the teeth so that they are not visible.
While regular metal braces with an arch wire and elastics are still the most common, some people opt for a different approach.
One option is lingual or “hidden” braces which are fixed to the inside of the teeth.
They still use brackets and wires, but those brackets and wires cannot generally be seen by others.
Rather than having brackets bonded to the teeth and wires attached with elastic, lingual braces have brackets built for each tooth.
The brackets are fixed to each tooth with cement and then the arch wire is threaded through the brackets.
Pros of Lingual Braces
They look better than regular braces
They work as effectively as regular braces
Food caught in them is not usually visible to others
May be more stable than other options
Cons of Lingual Braces
They can take longer to get used to
The way you talk may be affected, especially at first
Caring for them is more difficult
Cleaning takes longer
They can be more expensive as they have to be custom made and installation is more complex
Here are definitions of some of the key terms used for the different elements of braces.Here are definitions of some of the key terms used for the different elements of braces.
Appliance: Something attached to teeth to move them or change the shape of the jaw
Arch Wire: Metal wire which is attached to brackets to move teethBand: Metal ring placed on teeth to hold on parts of braces
Bracket: Device glued on to teeth to fasten the arch wire
Orthodontic Chain: Used to hold archwires into brackets and to move teeth
Ligating Module: Small plastic donut-shaped device to hold the arch wires in the bracketsLingual Appliances: Orthodontic devices fixed to inside of teeth
Mouthguard: Protects your mouth from injury during sports and other activities to limit injuries
Retainer: Device usually worn for some time after braces removed to hold teeth in position
Wax: Helps stop braces from irritating your lips especially in early stages
Most people get used to braces quickly and wear them for as long as they need to with no problems.
However, occasional problems can arise and taking the right steps enables you to resolve them quickly.
Here are some examples of problems that may arise.
Allergic Reaction: Some people can have an allergic reaction to the elastic or the metal used in braces. Alternative materials can normally be used so it is important to let your orthodontist know of any allergies.
Mouth Sores: There may be irritation due to some parts of the braces. This is more commons in the early stages but there are many products available such as oral rinses and dental wax that help heal sores quickly.
Build Up of Plaque: It is important to keep up your regular oral care routine of brushing and flossing to prevent food building up around braces as this can lead to build up of plaque which can cause tooth decay and bad breath.
Damaged Braces: Braces can be damaged if not cared for properly. Certain hard or sticky foods can cause damage as can mouth injuries when playing sports. If damage occurs frequently, it can mean the treatment takes longer.
Arch Wire Movement: If the arch wire becomes displaced, it can cause irritation and mouth ulcers. Dental wax helps but it is usually best to have the damage fixed by an orthodontist.
Discomfort: Pain and discomfort may occur after first installation and also after any adjustments but these usually pass quickly.
Orthodontists are specially-trained dentists who can fix problem with bad bite, crooked teeth and misaligned jaws.
One of the main benefits orthodontic treatment is cosmetic – you get a great smile that makes you look and feel better.
But there are real health benefits of orthodontic treatment too:
You will be able to chew your food easier: Chewing is an important part of digestion. Having crooked teeth means you don’t chew your food properly and could end up with indigestion and other stomach problems.
You will have fewer dental problems: As crooked teeth are hard to clean, you could have more cavities and gum disease than people who have had orthodontic treatment. When your teeth are crooked there is extra stress on your teeth, gums and jaw which can lead to problems later on.
You have less risk of breathing problems: The roof of your mouth can sometimes partially block the air passages in your nose leading to breathing problems and snoring. Orthodontic treatment can reduce this possibility.
Some recent research suggests a link between oral bacteria and cardiovascular disease, where calcium in your mouth is dissolved and deposited in your arteries.
Orthodontics helps prevent oral infections which may have a direct effect on heart disease.
Orthodontics not only gives you a great smile, it can lead to a healthier, happier and longer life.