What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a dental specialty that is concerned with the diagnosis, treatment, management and prevention of malocclusions or “bad bites.” A bad bite happens when the teeth are crowded, spaced too far apart, or protrusive. It also occurs when the lips or the upper and lower jaws don’t align the way they should. The aim of orthodontic treatment is to create a healthy bite, as it makes it easier for you to chew, speak and bite. An orthodontist uses appliances such as braces and aligners to guide your teeth into their correct positions.
Causes Of Orthodontic Problems
The truth of the matter is that majority of bad bites are inherited. So, if both or either of your parents have a bad bite, then chances are, you have the same problem too. Genetic problems include crowding, protrusion, spacing and jaw growth problems. But not all orthodontic issues are hereditary; others develop due to habits like thumb sucking, as well as tooth loss, accident, etc.
Why Treatment Is Crucial
Many years ago, orthodontic treatment was only associated with teenagers and older kids. Today, many adults seek orthodontic treatment as well.
When the teeth are crooked, misaligned or crowded, they are very difficult to clean. Over time, it can lead to tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease and eventually tooth loss. A bad bite also results to uneven wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty speaking and chewing, and jaw joint problems.
That’s not all. An unattractive smile adversely affects one’s self esteem and confidence. A person with bad bite is often embarrassed to smile in public so he or she tends to cover the mouth when smiling, or would rather not smile. An untreated orthodontic problem can also lead to more expensive dental work in later years.
When Should My Child Get an Orthodontic Check-Up?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends taking your child to an orthodontist by age 7. At this time, an orthodontist can already identify issues that are easier to correct.
Should Adults Seek Orthodontic Treatment?
Braces work for children, teens and adults. In fact, about 1 in 5 orthodontic patients is over 18 years old. With orthodontic solutions that are more comfortable and less visible, treatment has become enticing not only to young patients but to adults as well.
Types of Braces
There are several types of orthodontic appliances that can be used to straighten the teeth, depending on your needs.
- Metal Braces: These braces are very durable, and are suited for patients who want to show off their braces and colored elastic ties, which seem to be quite popular these days.
- Ceramic Braces: These braces are similar in design and function as traditional braces but use transparent ceramic. This semi-invisible orthodontic appliance is suitable for patients that do not have severe malocclusions.
- Invisalign: This refers to a set of clear plastic aligners which are invisible and removable. Invisalign aligners are replaced every two weeks. It’s best suited for patients who are not interested in wearing traditional braces however just like ceramic braces, Invisalign may not be suitable for complicated orthodontic problems.
Duration of Orthodontic Treatment
Orthodontic treatment generally takes 1-3 years. After your braces are removed, you will be required to use retainers so that your teeth will not fall back into their old positions.
Cost of Treatment
Braces have become more affordable today; however, the cost depends on the length of treatment and severity of the bad bite. Your orthodontist will discuss this with you as well as provide financing options.
The success of any orthodontic treatment depends on the combined effort of the dentist and patient. It’s imperative that the patient follows the instructions given by the orthodontist, and attend all appointments. He or she should also maintain good oral hygiene such as flossing and brushing the teeth, as well as going for regular regular dental checkups and cleanings.
Hours of Operation
Monday - Thursday: 7.40 am to 4.30 pm
Fridays by appointment
Daniel Turnbull, D.D.S.
1148 Executive Circle, Ste 1
Cary, NC 27511