A common question asked in dental offices is whether or not a patient needs braces. Most of the time patients ask about braces if there is visible misalignment in their front teeth. While crooked front teeth can create an aesthetic concern, there are also several other factors that your dentist will want to consider when it comes to recommending orthodontic treatment.
Crossbites and Openbites
If the arches of your mouth do not occlude (bite together) properly against one another, it can cause irregular wear or damage to the TMJ. Having a crossbite means the back teeth are overlapping the wrong way, or an open bite indicates that the teeth are not biting together at all.
Over and Underbites
The patient usually notices significant overbites and underbites as the top or bottom teeth sticking out too far. Again, this can cause irregular use and complications, not to mention predispose your child to a higher risk of accidental trauma if their front teeth jet out very far.
Alignment of the Teeth
When teeth are crowded, crooked, or rotated, they can decay very easily as well as develop serious gum disease due to the difficulty in keeping them clean on a regular basis. Even with dedicated oral hygiene, most areas of crowding will still experience significantly higher levels of tartar buildup and bone loss around the affected teeth. This predisposes the patient to tooth loss later on, as well as irregular wear patterns that affect the function and appearane of their smile.
Braces aren’t just to improve the way your smile looks. They play a significant role in the long-term health and function of you or your child’s smile.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Brett Gluck
Braces aren’t the only way that orthodontists help correct the alignment of the teeth. In many cases, the location of the teeth is not the problem. The problem lies in the anatomy and development of the jaws, palate and skull. During early stages of development, orthopedic appliances can be very useful in guiding the jaws into a proper developmental course. This allows the upper and lower jaws to bite together properly, and greatly reduces orthodontic concerns later on such as severely crowded or misaligned teeth.
Temporary orthodontic appliances such as palatal expanders are worn during the early stages of orthodontic treatment, or before treatment is begun. More space and a proper biting relationship between the teeth greatly improve the effectiveness of routine orthodontic treatment. Results are more significant and treatment times reduced when orthopedics are utilized during early stages of care.
One of the biggest benefits of orthopedic appliances is that they are non invasive. The appliances typically eliminate the need for surgical bone remodeling and corrective placements. Instead, they encourage proper bone growth during a stage of development where oral anatomy is still forming. After modified growth has taken place, the appliance is simply removed as the remainder of orthodontic treatment shifts the teeth into the proper places. Short jaws, narrow palates, or dramatic underbites are extremely difficult, if not impossible to be treated with braces alone.
If your child suffers from jaw discrepancies or tremendous misalignment of teeth, orthopedic appliances can greatly improve their response to orthodontic therapy. Surprisingly, the growth modification appliances do not require much more of a financial investment in regards to the overall cost of care.
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