An orthodontic problem is called a malocclusion, meaning "bad bite."
Some examples of causes of malocclusion are crowded teeth, extra teeth, missing
teeth or jaws that are out of alignment. Most malocclusions are inherited, although
some can be acquired. Acquired malocclusions can be caused by accidents, early
or late loss of baby teeth, or sucking of the thumb or fingers for a prolonged
period of time. Children and adults can both benefit from orthodontics. It is
recommended that every child receive an orthodontic evaluation by age seven. Treatment
may take a little longer for adults. Because an adult's facial bones are no longer
growing, certain corrections may not be accomplished with braces alone. The average
treatment time is about 24 months and varies with individual patients. Usually,
adult treatment takes a little longer than a child's treatment.
Orthodontics are an excellent means of correcting crooked or misaligned teeth.
They can dramatically affect your appearance, but importantly, orthodontics
can also correct TMJ disorder as well as reduce your susceptibility to dental
decay and periodontal disease.
Typically, orthodontic treatment consists of the application of small ceramic,
or metal brackets to the teeth. These brackets are attached to an arch wire
which helps shape the teeth. Often springs and rubber bands are also used to
help move the teeth.
Treatment usually takes from one to three years to complete. The amount of
time depends on the cooperation of the patient and the difficulty of the case.
Once treatment is over, it may be necessary to use a retainer for several years;
however, in some cases, a small permanent retainer can be bonded to the teeth.
Types of Orthodontic Braces and Brackets
Several kinds of orthodontic braces can be used to reposition teeth. Damon brackets
and ceramic brackets are two of the most popular types of dental braces. Patients
can choose from ceramic braces, plastic ( clear braces), or stainless steel (
metal braces). Stainless steel is a practical material, and the most common, but
ceramic or plastic can be used for cosmetic purposes. Before you decide on a method
of treatment, you should always check with your orthodontist to find out what
kinds of orthodontic braces are offered, and what dental insurance plans are accepted.
“Clear or tooth Colored" Brackets
Clear braces utilize less noticeable brackets for patients
concerned about the appearance of their smile. These brackets are translucent,
so they blend in with your natural tooth color. This means that unlike traditional
stainless metal braces, clear braces won’t make your smile look "metallic."
In addition, clear braces are designed so that they won’t stain or
discolor over long periods of time. Clear ceramic braces are an aesthetic
alternative for those who don't want their braces to show as much. They
are extremely comfortable to wear and very efficient at moving teeth.
Traditional metal braces may also be required for those needing
extensive realignment. Your orthodontist will advise you whether metal orthodontic
braces are necessary for your treatment. They are the most popular type
of brackets used. Many patients enjoy having different colors placed on
their braces as a means of personal expression and fun. Because it's so
simple to change the colors, feel free to swap them at every visit.
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