What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a special discipline of dentistry concerned with aligning the teeth and jaws to improve one’s smile and overall oral health. “Ortho” means correct or straight, and “odont” means tooth. A dentist will recommend braces to improve the patient’s physical appearance and function of the teeth and jaws, if the teeth are crooked and malaligned, or the jaws are of unequal size. This condition is referred to as malocclusion, which comes from a latin word meaning ‘bad bite’.
Teeth that are crowded and even proclined could be accepted by some as a natural smile not to be tampered with; would nevertheless present problems in day today life. It is commonly believed that orthodontic treatment can be deferred till the time all permanent teeth have erupted in the mouth i.e age 12, but research has proved that early intervention can reduce some significant problems for children. It is however, recommended, the first visit to dentist take place no later than age 7.
Potential Benefits of Timely Treatment
Influence growth of the jaws in a positive manner
Improve the width of the dental arches
Reduce the need to extract permanent teeth
Reduce or eliminate the need for jaw surgery
Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
Correct harmful oral habits
Simplify and shorten treatment time for definitive orthodontic treatment
Increase stability of final treatment results
Reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth
Improve speech development
Improve position of first permanent molars
Guide permanent teeth into more favourable positions
Improve lip closure
Preserve or gain space for erupting permanent teeth
Reduce potential for damage to TM joints
Better cooperation before the teenage years
Benefits of Orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment can help treat or improve the following:
Reduce the risk of injury – prominent teeth are more prone to trauma
Reduce the risk of decay as crooked teeth are harder to clean
Reduce the risk of developing TMJ problems
Eliminate the excessive wear on your teeth that can be caused by a poorly aligned bite
Myofunctional Appliances utilize muscle forces to redirect and guide normal growth and development thereby minimizing jaw discrepancies; if treated during growth period.
Invisible, clear plastic retainers, instead of braces, can be used by adults for mild to moderate crowding problems.
Lots of kids don’t have perfect teeth. Their teeth could be crooked or upper and lower jaws might not be the same size.
Straight teeth provide a healthier, more attractive smile.
Arch expanders for younger children can minimize or eliminate the need for braces when the problem is treated early enough.
Some causes of crowding and malocclusion
Premature loss of milk teeth
Prolonged retention or delayed loss of milk teeth which would result in permanent tooth taking a deviant path.
Childhood habits persisting beyond 4 years of age, such as thumbsucking, finger/nail biting ,lip sucking, mouthbreathing, incorrect swallowing, all lead to irregular teeth alignment and formation.
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