Other orthodontic problems can contribute to abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, inefficient chewing function, excessive stress on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth, or misalignment of the jaw joints. These can lead to chronic headaches and face or neck pain. Treatment by an orthodontist can be less costly than the additional care required to treat dental problems arising as a result of orthodontic problems. For most people, a beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontics. After your braces come off, you’ll feel more self-confident.
Made of high-grade stainless steel and attached to the front of teeth, these are the most common. Some patients may complain about discomfort from metal brackets rubbing against the skin. If you experience any pain or discomfort, ask your dentist or orthodontist for some dental wax to place over the brackets.
Clear Ceramic Braces
These are worn on the front of the teeth just like traditional steel braces. Unlike metal braces, they blend with the color of the teeth for a much less noticeable appearance. They may look better but also may break more easily than metal braces.
A series of clear, customized, removable appliances called aligners. Not only are these braces invisible, but they also are removable so they won’t trap food and plaque between your teeth like metal braces. You’ll wear each aligner for about two weeks and only remove it for eating, brushing and flossing. This may be an option for individuals with mild spacing problems.
How Orthodontic Treatment Works
Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, ceramic or plastic. They may be removable or they may be brackets bonded to the teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces slowly shift 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 choose brackets that are clear or metallic colors for a bit of fun. You can choose the color of the ties that hold the wire in brackets. Wires are also less noticeable than they used to be and the latest materials 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 and face and the severity of the problem. Patients grow at different rates and will respond variously to orthodontic treatment, so the time to case completion may differ from the original estimate. The patient’s diligent use of any prescribed rubber bands or headgear is an important factor in achieving the most efficient treatment. Interceptive, or early treatment procedures, may take as few as six months.
Braces for Kids
It’s best for the orthodontist to see children by age 7 to advise if orthodontic treatment is required and the best time for that patient to be treated. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by that time and crossbites, crowding and other problems can be evaluated. When treatment is begun early, the orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaw and guide incoming 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, correct thumb-sucking, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment.
Braces for Adults
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age, and adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful, healthy smile. One of every five patients in orthodontic treatment is over 21. Jaw surgery is more often required for adult orthodontic patients because their jaws are no longer growing. 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.
The latest reports indicate that 25% of all individuals or 1 million adults wear braces.
Benefits of braces for adults:
- Reduce decay and gum disease due to crowding and other benefits, including:
- Relieve headaches and earaches
- Improve speaking, biting or chewing problems
- Prevent or improve TMJ troubles
Dr. Jacquie Smiles is helping kids, teens and adults in Monroe achieve straight, attractive smiles they desire. All ages welcome.