Braces (Orthodontia)

Excerpt: Braces are applied to teeth for various reasons, including poorly aligned jaws, crooked, crowded, and missing teeth, or a bad bite (also called malocclusion).

Why Do You Need Braces?

Braces are applied to teeth for various reasons, including poorly aligned jaws, crooked, crowded, and missing teeth, or a bad bite (also called malocclusion).

Many factors can cause teeth to become crooked, or jaws misaligned; including thumb-sucking or a traumatic injury. Some causes may can be genetic.

What Is A Good Age To Consider Braces?

Children between the ages of 7 and 14 are typical candidates for braces because their facial structures are still developing. Adult braces usually entail additional procedures because their faces have already fully developed.

Different Types Of Braces

Orthodontics deal with corrections involving jaw and teeth alignment. An orthodontist is a dental professional who diagnoses and applies braces.

Braces come in one of three types:

  • Metal Braces which employ the use of metal strips, or bands.
  • Metal or plastic brackets that are cemented or bonded to teeth.
  • Brackets that attach to the back teeth (also called “lingual” braces)
  • Invisalign™ Invisible Braces
  • With Invisalign® there are no metal wires or brackets, only clear, surgical grade aligners that are worn (much like whitening trays). Invisalign makes it easy to maintain your dental hygiene, it is a great way to straighten teeth and have a beautiful smile.

Braces Procedures

Orthodontic procedures, also called “orthodontia,” are complex processes.

A dentist will usually need to make a plaster cast of the individual’s teeth and perform full X-rays of the head and mouth.

After orthodontic appliances are placed, they need to be adjusted eventually to ensure that they continue to move the teeth into their correct position.

Retainers are used following braces to ensure that teeth remain in position.

Aesthetic And Comfort Issues

Modern dental technology has vastly improved appearance issues with orthodontia.

Braces today are made from extremely lightweight and natural-colored materials. The materials that braces attach to; are bonded to the surfaces of teeth but can be later removed.

Patients may expect to wear braces for about two years. Adults are usually required to wear braces for longer periods of time.

Because orthodontic appliances need to be adjusted to ensure they continue to move the teeth into their correct position, they can create pressure on the teeth and jaws. This mild discomfort usually subsides following each orthodontia adjustment.

What Hygiene Issues Are There?

People who wear braces must be diligent in ensuring food particles and other debris is not trapped in the brackets and wires. Brackets can leave stains on enamel if the area surrounding them is not cleaned daily.

Daily oral hygiene such as brushing, flossing and rinsing are a necessity. Some people with orthodontic appliances can benefit from using water picks, which emit small pressurized bursts of water that can effectively rinse away such debris.

Another caveat: Braces and sticky foods don’t mix. Crunchy snacks and chewy substances should be avoided at all costs because they can cause orthodontia to be loosened or damaged.

Space Maintainers

Space maintainers are nifty devices that can help teeth grow in normally following premature tooth loss, injury or other problems.

The devices can help ensure that proper spaces are maintained to allow future permanent teeth to erupt.

If your child loses a baby tooth early through decay or injury, his or her other teeth could shift and begin to fill the vacant space. When your child’s permanent teeth emerge, there’s not enough room for them. The result is crooked or crowded teeth and difficulties with chewing or speaking.

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