Orthodontics may at first seem very intimidating due to many factors such as social pressure, thoughts of metal wire in your mouth, or changing your smile altogether. But we’re here to tell you that orthodontics can help you get the straighter smile you need and want. And, it’s not only about appearance – changing your alignment benefits your health too! You are not alone when it comes to seeking for a straighter smile; studies have found that nearly 75 percent of people need some type of orthodontic care. Read on to learn more about how orthodontics can help you and your smile.
Most Common Orthodontic Problems
There are the obvious problems such as gaps, spacing or crooked teeth, and then there issues related to baby teeth and genetics. Most of these orthodontic misalignments are called malocclusions; these include missing teeth, extra teeth (supernumerary teeth), crowded teeth (or protruded teeth) and problems that come on early. These can include the retention of teeth (baby teeth that don’t appear for over a year), loss of baby teeth prematurely, or thumb- or finger-sucking.
Other problems that can cause the need for dental braces include accidents resulting in teeth getting knocked out of place or the loss of teeth. Because of the empty space, this can cause teeth to shift out of place. Dental diseases can be a result of misaligned teeth, causing further damage that could be prevented with the placement of braces.
Not Only Cosmetic Benefits but Health Benefits
There are many benefits to getting braces! It can not only boost your self-confidence but help your oral health immensely. Because of overlapping/missing teeth, this leaves room for dental problems like periodontal disease, tooth enamel erosion, stress on your gum tissue or bone, tooth decay and more.
With straightened teeth, this will fix or prevent these problems, while also improving your bite, chewing and speaking. Braces can also help with the realignment of your jaw and prevent TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorders).
The benefits of braces cosmetically is one of the largest factors in helping convince patients to get braces, but it’s very important to consider the health benefits of having orthodontic care. Not only will it assist your oral care but your overall health care as well. According to studies, preventing periodontal disease can help you avoid heart disease, diabetes, strokes, pregnancy complications and respiratory disease.
Oral Hygiene with Braces
Since you can still be at risk for periodontal disease while your teeth are being aligned, it’s very important to take care of your teeth and braces during the alignment process. With so many nooks and crannies, it’s very important to keep an even closer eye on your dental health. Here are some important tips to follow:
– Brush with fluoride toothpaste and be sure to replace your toothbrush every two months, especially while wearing braces (usually it’s every 3-4 months but the wear from the metal brackets affects the bristles). Be sure to brush after every meal and before bed.
– Floss once a day. Seems like an impossible task? There are a few tools you can use: The main one is using waxed floss with a floss threader. You simply thread floss through the open end and gently slide the threader underneath the wire to floss. Another tool to use is a water flosser. These flush out bacteria and food debris around the gums and in the small spaces of the teeth and braces. Make sure to use waxed floss as this will be less likely to catch on your braces.
– Attend your biannual dental checkup with your dentist. They will check for any problems with your smile and give you a professional cleaning. And, of course, be sure to attend all your scheduled orthodontic appointments.
– Use mouthwash to prevent decalcification (white spots on the teeth) or demineralization (acids left on the teeth that break down the bone). Our team can prescribe a mouthrinse that will best suit your needs.
Orthodontic Care for Adults
Not only can your children get braces, but you can as well! Whether you’re looking for a cosmetic fix or wanting to improve your dental health, braces can be used to help multiple issues that either you have had for years or have developed over time.
Most often, adults have had conditions evolve over the years resulting in conditions such as inadequate blood supply between roots due to insufficient bone, small amounts of bone loss, or gingivitis infections. By the time you are in your twenties, many of your bones have hardened and no longer grow. This causes your tissue to take longer to adjust to new positions.
For those with overbites or underbites, orthodontic care can be used to fix this issue. There is sometimes not enough room so a tooth will need to be extracted. You want to make sure this is done professionally, and if you have previous tooth extractions, we will assess how this will affect your orthodontic process.
As an adult, you may not want metal braces visible in your smile. Other options to look at include ceramic braces (instead of metal, transparent ceramic material is used), or clear plastic aligners. Clear aligners are one of the more popular options many adults and teens use. They are typically used for smaller adjustments, are removable, and require a new aligner every two weeks (and this can also depend on treatment).
Braces at a Young Age
Getting braces at a younger age has proved most efficient in preventing dental problems in the future. Permanent teeth start to typically come in about the ages of six to eight, and because the bones are still growing, it’s best to evaluate their tooth alignment at a young age to determine what orthodontic treatment is needed at the time or in the future, if needed at all.
A fun aspect of having braces is getting to choose colorful elastics! You or your child can pick their favorite colors, school pride colors, or base them on the holidays. And because braces are very common in many young people, they have become more acceptable. One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to help them understand the importance of having braces and taking care of them. Create a fun routine to help them attend to their teeth and braces or reward them when they’ve had a successful appointment or they’ve hit their dental care goals.
With the advancement of braces, they have become more acceptable and comfortable. They still take a little time getting used to the feel and the adjustments over time, but the satisfaction of having an aligned smile that will give you the look you want, and oral health you need, will be worth it in the end.