Orthodontic treatment can occur at any age, although dentists recommend starting the process while the child is still growing, as the teeth and jaw will move into place quicker. Most orthodontic patients are in their early teens; however, orthodontists recommend interceptive orthodontic treatment, wearing a face brow and/or palatal expander to stretch your jaw and/or widen your mouth, at the age of eight or nine, in time for the permanent teeth to come into place. With interceptive orthodontic treatment, once the child's permanent teeth have grown and he or she is ready for braces, the mouth has already been shaped in such a way that the teeth can easily fit into place. Interceptive treatment can reduce the amount of time the braces need to be worn down to 3-6 months in some cases. Successful orthodontic treatment can occur later in life, too, but in general, the earlier you start, the less the process hurts.
On average, orthodontic treatment tends to take about two to two and a half years. After a few initial assessment appointments, the orthodontist will glue metal or clear brackets to your teeth, held together by a wire. If you have an over or under bite, he or she may also assign headgear or a facebow to push or pull your jaw into place. You can expect to see your orthodontist at least once a month to have your braces checked and the wire holding your brackets together tightened. When the braces are removed, you will have to wear a retainer for a specified period of time to keep your new smile in place.
Orthodontics is the correcting of tooth alignment and bite problems. It deals with straightening of teeth and fixing over or under bites. A perfect smile should consist of straight teeth, be gap and overlap-free, and the top teeth should align with the bottom. Mouth injuries, prolonged pacifier use in infancy or thumb sucking in early childhood can all cause misalignment. Most often, though, orthodontic problems occur simply because the teeth and mouth are growing at different speeds.
Orthodontic appliances such as braces and retainers put pressure on your teeth and/or jaw, forcing them into a more aligned form. These appliances are popular for their aesthetic benefits; they can pull teeth together to close gaps and push teeth apart to avoid overlaps. However, straightening your teeth improves more than just your smile. Crooked or overlapped teeth can impair chewing (and, therefore, digestion) and complicate dental hygiene. Poorly aligned teeth can lead to other complications (such as when teeth bite down on the tongue or gums). Jaw irregularities can cause the roof of your mouth to block your nasal cavities, leading to breathing difficulties. All of these potential problems can be prevented with the use of orthodontics. Finally, recent evidence even suggests that braces might play an indirect role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease: former braces-wearers learn to care for their teeth, thus reducing the amount of oral bacteria; oral bacteria dissolves calcium in the mouth and pushes it into the arteries, possibly leading to cardiovascular disease.
7172 Columbia Road Olmsted Falls, Ohio 44138
Phone: 440-235-3060 Fax: 440-235-2382
Olmsted Falls Dentistry
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