Traditional braces have come a long way over the years, becoming sleeker, smaller and more comfortable. And that’s something to smile about!
Dental braces can correct crooked and crowded teeth, a misaligned bite and jaw problems.Braces also eliminate problems you may have with eating, speaking properly or with keeping your teeth clean. Traditional braces consist of standard metal brackets that are adhered to your teeth with an adhesive and connected by wire. These braces have a metal bracket with elastic (rubber band) ties holding the wire onto the metal brackets. They require periodic tightening so pressure can gradually straighten your teeth and align your jaw as needed.
Are Dental Braces and Straight Teeth Necessary?
When teeth are crooked and crowded, keeping them clean becomes very difficult. If brushing and flossing cannot be completed properly, tooth decay, gum disease and possible tooth loss can occur.
An improper bite can interfere with your ability to chew and speak properly, as well as cause abnormal wear to the enamel of your teeth. If your teeth are protruding and/or your upper and lower teeth don’t come together comfortably (called malocclusion, or a bad bite), jaw problems also may arise.
Therefore, by keeping your teeth in the proper alignment and allowing better oral hygiene, dental braces do more than keep your smile looking good. They also help you keep your teeth, gums and oral cavity healthy. There is now evidence to prove that the periodontal infections resulting from poor oral hygiene can enter the blood stream and cause cardiac conditions.
What’s Behind a Bite?
The most common oral health issue prompting orthodontic treatment is a bad bite (malocclusion). A malocclusion may be caused by one or more factors:.
- Small Mouth: A small mouth can result in a limited amount of space for the teeth to grow. This can foster crowding once the permanent teeth erupt.
- Tongue Thrusting: Some children thrust their tongue forward, pressing it against the lips with a force that can result in the protrusion of teeth, or “open bite,” among other problems.
- Extra Teeth or Not Enough: Sometimes, a person can have extra teeth develop and/or protrude, or certain teeth that do not develop or protrude at all. If you have too many teeth or not enough, your bite can be affected. In addition, the untimely loss of baby teeth or traumatic injury to the face, mouth or jaw can also affect the bite.
- Misaligned Jaw and Bone Structure: A misaligned jaw or supporting bone structure can affect the bite and create malocclusion. Malocclusion may result in difficulty chewing and speaking, or otherwise impact the functionality of the teeth. Furthermore, malocclusion may contribute to other oral health conditions such as TMJ (TMD) and teeth grinding (bruxing).
- Poor Muscular Functional Habits: Malocclusion may be caused by poor muscular functional habits such as thumb sucking during and beyond infancy. Some adults still suck their fingers or thumbs, resulting in tongue thrust habits that can be a detriment to dental and facial development.
The Right Age for Dental Braces
A person typically inherits tooth spacing, malocclusion, crowding, misalignment or similar problems from their parents. However, these conditions also may be caused by habits such as thumb-sucking, tongue thrusting, lip wedging, mouth breathing due to allergies or large tonsils and adenoids, premature loss of teeth or trauma, and generally begin to appear between the ages of six and 12 years old — the time when the permanent teeth start to erupt.
Therefore, orthodontic treatment with dental braces should begin between the ages of eight and 14 in order to achieve optimal results. It is generally considered ideal to have an orthodontic evaluation no later than the age of seven, since this is when there is a good mix of primary (baby) and adult teeth in the mouth.
Also, dentists are better able to spot developing teeth and jaw growth at this time in a child’s life. This enables them to anticipate problems that may arise and plan braces treatment accordingly.
Adults and Dental Braces
Children are not the only ones who may benefit from dental braces. Adults also can undergo orthodontic treatment with dental braces to correct alignment, spacing, crowding and malocclusion problems. The process for moving teeth is basically the same at any age, but the treatment may take longer for adults. This is due to the fact that adult facial bones are no longer growing, and certain corrections may not be possible utilizing braces alone. Depending on the specific type and severity of your alignment or malocclusion problem, tooth extraction or maxillofacial surgery may be required.
Where do I start?
The first step to take is to see your dentist to discuss whether you are a candidate for traditional braces. During this consultation you will discuss your oral health options with your doctor and be given a financial estimate so that you understand the entire fee with no hidden financial surprises. To book your braces consultation, call our office today at 780-849-2234.
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