Orthodontics can boost a person’s self-image as the teeth, jaws and lips become properly aligned, but an attractive smile is just one of the benefits. Alleviating or preventing physical health problems is just as important
Without treatment, orthodontic problems may lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bone destruction and chewing and digestive difficulties. A “bad bite” can contribute to speech impairments, tooth loss, chipped teeth and other dental injuries.
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The technical term for these problems is “malocclusion,” which means “bad bite.” The practice of orthodontics requires the professional skill in the design, application and control of corrective appliances (braces) to bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment and achieve facial balance.
Why Orthdontic treatment?
The goal of orthodontic treatment is a good bite—meaning straight teeth that mesh well with the teeth in the opposite jaw. A good bite makes it easier for you to bite, chew and speak. This can enhance your dental health and your overall health, and most of the time improve self-esteem.
Orthodontic treatment is often part of a comprehensive dental health care plan. With good care, including orthodontic treatment when necessary, teeth can last a lifetime.
Treatment in children or teenagers who are still growing may yield results that may not be possible once the face and jaws have completed their growth.
A healthy bite is as important at age 60 as it is at age 16. Even though adults are no longer growing, they can also enjoy improvements that come from orthodontic treatment. Your age is not a consideration for orthodontic treatment. Healthy teeth can be moved at any age.
Orthodontic treatment is a smart investment in your dental, physical and emotional health.
Who is an Orthodontic specialist?
Your orthodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. To become an orthodontist one must first attend college/university for a minimum of 3-4 years in basic science, and then complete a 4-year university program (DDS/DMD) at a dental school in a university or other institution accredited by the Canadian Dental Association. They must then successfully complete an additional residency program of at least two-three academic years of advanced education in orthodontics, again accredited by the CDA. This advanced training includes such diverse studies as genetics, embryology, human growth and development, and biomechanics of tooth movements. Only dentists with this advanced specialty education and training can present themselves as orthodontists.
What is a Malocclusion?
It may be a new word to you. “Malocclusion” is a technical term for crooked, crowded or protruding teeth which do not fit together properly. Literally, the word means “bad bite.” Most malocclusions are inherited. These include crowding of teeth, too much space between teeth, extra or missing teeth, cleft palate and a variety of irregularities of the jaws and face. Some malocclusions are acquired. They can be caused by thumb-sucking, tongue thrusting, dental disease, premature loss of primary or permanent teeth, accidents or some medical problems. Left untreated, these orthodontic problems can become worse. Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. This may contribute to conditions that may cause tooth decay, eventual gum disease and tooth loss. A bad bite can also cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing and excess stress of the supporting bone and gum tissue
Who can Benefit from Orthodontics?
You already know that braces straighten teeth. But what you may not know is that a beautiful smile is just one of the benefits orthodontics has to offer. Bringing teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment not only produces a great smile, but a healthy one as well. Straight teeth simply function better and are easier to clean.And last but far from least is the increased confidence and self-esteem that a healthy smile provides. This psychological benefit can be a significant factor in the decision to undergo treatment and is often listed as a patient’s #1 treatment goal. A beautiful smile is a pleasure to own and a pleasure to see.
So remember: an attractive smile is just the start. Improved oral health and general well-being are important treatment goals as well.
When should my child first see an orthodontic specialist?
The AAO recommends that every child should see an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. In some cases, this could be as young as 2 or 3. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected early rather than waiting until jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean a patient will avoid surgery or other more serious corrections later in life.
Is it ever too late for a person to get braces?
No. Because healthy teeth can be moved at any age, an orthodontist can improve the smile of practically anyone – in fact, orthodontists regularly treat patients in their 50s, 60s and older!
When is the Best Time to Schedule and Initial Consultation?
Early consultation allows the orthodontist to determine the optimum time for treatment to begin. In some cases, satisfactory results are unattainable once the face and jaws have finished growing. Seven years old is a good rule of thumb for a child unless you see a noticeable problem earlier. Early examination often permits maximum improvement earlier before all the adult teeth have erupted.
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