Orthodontics is the
science of straightening and correcting teeth.
Who Needs Orthodontic Treatment?
- Children as well as adults,
are choosing to have orthodontic treatment for several reasons:
or occlusion is off)
-tooth malalignment (crooked
-unhappy with appearance
- During the preteen and
teenage years, the jaws are growing and maturing, therefore it is easier
to shift teeth at this stage rather than later on in adulthood.
- More adults are choosing
to have orthodontic treatment in order to improve the appearance of their
teeth. Since their jaws are no longer growing, treatment may take a little
What Causes Malocclusion?
- Hereditary - for example,
you may inherit your mother's small jaw, and your father's large teeth;
if this is the case, your teeth would be too large to fit your jaw.
- Trauma - if you lose a
tooth due to an accident, then teeth may start to drift into the empty
- Disease - you can lose
a tooth early due to cavities or gum disease; this often leaves a space
which other teeth drift towards.
- Malnutrition - nutritional
deficiencies can alter the growth of the jaws and teeth.
- Habits - thumb-sucking
can shift the teeth out of alignment.
Why Treat Malocclusion?
- Orthodontics is not only
used to improve your appearance.
- Malocclusion or malaligned
teeth can have long term effects, such as:
- interference with
normal growth and development of the jaws
How Do Braces Work?
- abnormal swallowing patterns
- abnormal facial muscle
- impairment of chewing
- speech defects
- susceptibility to cavities
due to the difficulty of removing plaque from crooked teeth
- vulnerability to accidents
or fractured teeth (if your front teeth stick out, they may be more easily
- Teeth can slowly be moved
and shifted into proper position by applying pressure in certain directions.
Bands, wires and elastics are placed on the teeth to move them in the
right direction. This takes place slowly and carefully over an extended
period of time.
- Shifting teeth back into
a functional position can take months to years, but eventually you'll
have a new and improved mouth!
- Retainers are often used
after the braces, to hold the teeth in their new position until they are
- It is important to wear
the braces or an appliance for however long it takes. If you quit at any
point during treatment, the teeth can shift back into their old position.
How To Take Care Of Your
- Braces collect food and
dental plaque very easily. If proper oral hygiene is neglected during
orthodontic treatment both tooth decay and periodontal disease can easily
- It is very important to
maintain a daily plaque control program. This program can be determined
by your dental hygienist. Such a program may be as follows:
- A soft toothbrush should
be used. A special orthodontic toothbrush can also be used to brush
- Flossing with braces
takes more time than usual. Superfloss or floss threaders can aid in
flossing, and make it more time efficient.
- An interdental brush
can be used to fit between the wire and the tooth to remove hard-to-reach
plaque and food debris.
- Oral irrigators can
be used as an adjunct to brushing and flossing. This helps remove food
debris and plaque.
- A mouthwash containing
fluoride can be used to help prevent cavities from occurring.
- Hard foods should be
avoided since they can bend the wires, loosen the bands, or break the
brackets. Fruits and raw vegetables should be cut up into smaller pieces
and chewed on the back teeth.
- Sticky foods such as
gum, toffee and caramel should be avoided since they can bend and break
the wires and brackets.
- Foods high in sugar
should also be avoided, since this increases the chances of tooth decay.
- Regular dental appointments
are important to monitor the health of the teeth and gums during orthodontic
- Orthodontics is a lot
of work and taking care of them is not easy, but in the end, the results
will be worthwhile when you have your new and improved smile.
of Oral-B laboratories © 2003
This site is intended
as general information only and should not
replace regular consultation with Dr.Talcott or the
Dental Hygienist. Copyright ©
2003 Dr Bob Talcott, DDS
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