Benefits of Orthodontics
- Braces for All Ages
- How Orthodontic Treatment Works
- Duration of Treatment
- What is the Advantage of Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment?
While a beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontic care, your dentist may have also mentioned the health benefits of straight teeth, coordinated jaw alignment and a good fit of the teeth (occlusion). Misaligned and crowded teeth are difficult to clean and maintain which makes them prone to periodontal disease. This can result in tooth decay, gum disease and may even lead to tooth loss. Additionally, orthodontic problems can contribute to excessive tooth wear, poor chewing function, excessive stress on the gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth, or stress on the jaw joints. These problems can also lead to chronic headaches and face or neck pain. Treatment by an orthodontist can be far less costly than the additional care required for dental problems arising as a result of untreated orthodontic problems. Prevention, as usual, ultimately greatly saves time, discomfort and expense. As your treatment progresses you will feel increasingly more self-confident.
Braces for All Ages
Orthodontic treatment can be valuable at any age. We have patients from 6 to 86 in our practice. Professional consultants know the benefits of a beautiful smile. In America, one of every five patients in orthodontic treatment is over 21. Some adults had braces during childhood but did not have proper retention guidance. Adults also may have experienced some breakdown or loss of their teeth and bone that supports the teeth and may require periodontal treatment before, during and/or after orthodontic treatment. Bone loss can also limit the amount and direction of tooth movement that is advisable. Remarkably, we have new procedures to increase the amount of bone surrounding the teeth such as Wilckodontics. These procedures reduce the need for extraction of teeth and for jaw surgery.
The American Dental Association and American Orthodontic Association recommend that children have an orthodontic consultation at about age 7, to check if early or interceptive orthodontic treatment would be beneficial and to determine the best time for treatment. Recommended time for treatment varies for each child. By age 7, the first permanent molars and incisors have usually erupted and cross bites, crowding and other problems can be evaluated. When treatment is begun early, the orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaws and guide eruptive path or the permanent teeth. Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth and correct thumb-sucking, abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment and enable a better result. About half of the children we see early are placed on observation for more eruption of permanent teeth and therefore usually have only one phase of treatment.
How Orthodontic Treatment Works
Orthodontic tooth movement is a biological process based on the fact that the bone surrounding teeth is very dynamic, constantly remodeling and very responsive to very light forces placed on the teeth. The force we use to move a tooth could be compared to the weight of a pencil.
Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, ceramic or plastic and may be visible or invisible. They may be removable or they may be brackets temporarily bonded to the teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces and very flexible wires slowly move teeth to a corrected position. This is a great time to wear braces! Gone are the days when a metal band with a bracket was placed around each tooth. You can show off your braces by choosing the color of the ties that hold the wire in brackets or you can choose braces that are invisible. New super-elastic wires move teeth faster with less discomfort to patients.
Duration of Treatment
Treatment time typically ranges from one to three years, depending on the growth of the patient’s mouth, face and the severity of the problem and if doctor and patient decide upon adding SureSmile or Wilckodontics to the treatment plan. The patient’s diligent use of any prescribed rubber bands or headgear is an important factor in achieving the most efficient treatment as is patient cooperation with appointments. Interceptive, or early treatment procedures, may take as few as six months.
What is the advantage of two-phase orthodontic treatment?
Two phases allow the orthodontist to tap into developmental opportunities as they present themselves such as tooth eruption or jaw growth. For example space may be created to allow normal eruption of teeth that where blocked. Orthopedics can harmonize jaw growth balancing the facial profile and correcting the occlusion or bite.