Orthodontic Treatment (Braces)

  1. What do orthodontic problems look like?
  2. The following are some indications that an orthodontic problem may exist:· Unusual facial profile · Thumb or finger sucking · Overlapping and crowded teeth · Missing teeth · Underbite · Spaced teeth · Protrusion of the upper front teeth · Mouth breathing or difficulty closing the lips together · Difficulty chewing or discomfort in the jaw joints.

  3. When should my child be seen for orthodontic care?
  4. Each person is a little different. However, it is recommended by the International Association for Orthodontics that about age 7 is an appropriate time for a child's first evaluation by an orthodontically trained dentist. If you suspect an orthodontic problem before age 7, we should be contacted for an earlier evaluation.

  5. Isn't seven years of age too early?
  6. For some patients, early diagnosis and treatment for orthodontic problems can help guide tooth eruption and facial growth, preventing more serious problems. Also, by managing early problems, later orthodontic treatment may be reduced, made easier and in some cases more economical (see the web page on two-phase orthodontic therapy). Other patients who need orthodontic treatment may first require a period of observation until an appropriate level of development has been attained.

  7. What are benefits of straight teeth?
  8. Properly positioned teeth are much easier to care for and clean. Correction of the bite not only helps with improved chewing and speech, but also plays an important role in reducing future wear of the teeth and stress on the supporting bone and jaw joints. Orthodontic care may also improve a person's self esteem.

  9. How does orthodontic care improve self image?
  10. Scientific research has repeatedly shown the mouth and face to be focal points of communication and social interaction. Appearance has been related to interpersonal popularity, social behaviors, self-expectation, personality style, and self image. There can be little doubt that an attractive facial appearance and smile can improve the quality of life and success at school, at work and socially. All factors of facial and dental esthetics are considered by the orthodontically trained dentist in planning individual treatment strategies.

  11. Is it unusual for adults to have orthodontic treatment?
  12. * More and more adults are having orthodontic treatment to correct crooked or crowded teeth.
    * Orthodontics can make the teeth more attractive and more functional, by improving jaw alignment, and correcting "the bite".
    * Improved techniques have been devised for treating adults.
    * Modern orthodontic braces are less obtrusive and adults are more willing to wear them.

  13. Is adult orthodontic treatment successful?
  14. * Adult orthodontics is particularly successful for correcting crowding and jaw problems.
    * Healthy teeth can be moved with braces at any age.
    * Very similar treatments and appliances are used for children and adults.

  15. I've always had crooked teeth. Does it really matter?
  16. * It does. Crooked teeth can prevent you from chewing properly, and lead to jaw joint problems.
    * Improving "the bite" can make eating more efficient and comfortable.
    * Crooked teeth affect your appearance and most people want to look their best at any age.
    · People with unattractive teeth are often too embarrassed to smile. Orthodontic treatment enables you to smile with confidence.
    · Looking better can make you feel better about yourself, and can increase your self-confidence.

  17. What are the most common orthodontic treatments for adult?
  18. * Correcting crowding or crooked teeth.
    * Closing newly developed or old spaces between teeth.
    * Correcting the position and alignment of teeth.
    * Teeth often tilt into gaps left by extractions. These teeth have to be moved into a more upright position.
    This correction makes it possible to use replacement crowns, implants, fixed bridges, or removable partial dentures to replace the missing teeth.
    * The photographs below explain what can be done for an adult, when the orthodontist, periodontist and prosthodontist all work together.

  19. What problems could make orthodontic treatment for adults more difficult?
  20. Periodontal Disease

    * Adults may suffer from periodontal disease, which is a deterioration of the gums and underlying bone.
    * Periodontal treatment will be necessary before the orthodontic treatment can start.

    Tooth decay

    * All dental decay should be treated before orthodontic treatment starts.
    * It is less comfortable to have dental treatment after braces have been fitted.

    Abnormal jaw relationships

    * The growth of the jaws has been completed in adults, and so this treatment is not always possible.
    * In children, the ongoing growth of the jaw can be directed to correct the abnormalities that are present.

    Worn down or broken teeth

    * These must be built up or restored before orthodontic treatment can start.

    Lack of commitment

    * Adult patients may find it hard to commit to long term treatment, especially to wearing braces for long periods.

  21. Can an orthodontist help my painful jaw muscles and joints?
  22. * Your orthodontist or dentist will be able to diagnose the problem.
    * This problem can be caused by the grinding and clenching of teeth.
    * The action is unconscious and involuntary.
    * The technical name for it is "bruxism."
    * Bruxism usually happens during sleep.
    * It wears down the teeth, and causes stress and trauma to the jaw muscles and the teeth.
    * The orthodontist will probably suggest a splint, bite plate or a nightguard to protect the teeth during sleep. This will also relax the muscles of the jaw.
    * These devices should relieve and prevent the results of tooth grinding.
    * The cause of the bruxism may be psychological, and may have to be treated by a suitable therapist.

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