How Orthodontic Treatment Works
Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, ceramic, or plastic. They may be removable or they may be brackets bonded to the teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces slowly move teeth to a corrected position.
Duration of Treatment
Treatment time typically ranges from one to three years, depending on the growth of the patient’s mouth and face and the severity of the problem. Patients grow at different rates and will respond variously to orthodontic treatment.
Orthodontics enhances the quality of life for people of all ages. A beautiful smile allows children and teens to be more self-confident. For adults, we hear over and over how a great smile impacts both their personal and professional lives. An individual’s self-esteem increases as the teeth, jaws and lips become properly aligned. In post-treatment photographs, we notice that patients sit up straighter, are eager to smile and are more confident in their overall appearance. Alleviating and preventing physical health problems is also an important aspect of our care. Without orthodontic treatment, an individual may be more susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease, uneven and excessive tooth wear, bone destruction, chewing difficulties, jaw joint issues, speech impairments, airway issues, and dental injuries.
The general consensus is that children have an orthodontic consultation by the age of seven. The permanent first molars and incisors have usually erupted by this time and the child can be evaluated for any overbites, cross bites, or crowding that may be present. Early orthopedic intervention guides growth and development, and may prevent serious problems that may require jaw surgery. Advantages of early orthodontic treatment:
- Reducing treatment time
- Increase self-esteem early
- Shorten/improve second phase of treatment
- Possibly eliminate the need for future jaw surgery
- Avoid permanent tooth extraction
- Correct abnormal speech or swallowing problems
- Alleviate thumb sucking habits
Although early treatment can be a great preventative measure, it is never too late to improve your smile.
The obvious reason many adults pursue orthodontic treatment is for improved smile esthetics. There are, however, numerous other incentives for improving one’s smile later in life:
- Improve overall functionality and health of teeth and bite
- Eliminate uneven wear or grinding of teeth
- Reduce symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)
- Allow access for better oral hygiene
- Reduce/stop breakdown or loss of teeth and bone that supports the teeth
- Re-establish space of previously extracted or missing teeth for future bridges or implants
Improve breathing and eliminate snoring/CPAP with a combined orthodontic/surgical plan.