What Is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is not just about straighter teeth. It also can improve your facial balance!
Drs. Mueller, Long and Jansen are general dentists that can help give you the smile that you always wanted. Most people associate orthodontics with the application of braces to correct crooked teeth in children and teens. Our Doctors treat a wide variety of conditions in people of all ages – from overbites to underbites and use removable braces and “fixed braces” or clear materials such as invisalign as well. Malocclusions, also known as “bad bites”, are usually inherited or acquired.
Acquired malocclusions are caused by:
1. Trauma (including delayed weaning from thumb, finger, or pacifier sucking)
2. Mouthbreathing (due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids, blocked nasal passages etc.)
3. Premature loss of baby or adult teeth
Regardless of whether malocclusions are inherited or acquired, many of these problems affect not only alignment of the teeth but also facial development and appearance as well.
A poor bite does not DIRECTLY cause tooth decay, or periodontal disease. It may, however, make it difficult to brush and floss properly which increases the likelihood of dental disease.
Although a majority of the population have some type of malocclusion, not all people require or seek orthodontic treatment. For example, with or without a history of orthodontic treatment, 65% of adults develop crowded, crooked lower front teeth. This is a natural result of change over time and does not necessarily require orthodontic treatment.
Symptoms that may require orthodontics
If you or your child have any of the following symptoms, have your general or pediatric dentist evaluate whether a poor bite may be responsible:
•Permanent teeth coming in (erupting) out of their normal position;
•Problems with biting the cheek or roof of the mouth; or
•Difficulty chewing or difficulty aligning teeth;
•Facial muscle or jaw pain, or speech difficulties.
Early interceptive orthodontic treatment usually starts before the eruption of the permanent teeth or when the child has very few permanent teeth present. Our goal is to guide the growth of the upper and/or lower jaw to make adequate space for the eruption of all the permanent teeth. We feel that children should be evaluated by the age of seven to see if there is a bone problem (orthopedic) or a tooth problem (orthodontic).
If the patient has a problem such as the upper jaw being too narrow, or an underdeveloped lower jaw, this will require a special appliance called a functional jaw orthopedic appliance to correct the problem. Minor tooth crowding can also be corrected early if it appears as though it may interfere with the eruption of other permanent teeth.
IT IS ALWAYS LESS EXPENSIVE TO CORRECT A PROBLEM WHEN THE PATIENT IS YOUNGER RATHER THAN WAIT FOR THE PROBLEM TO BECOME MORE SERIOUS IN THE FUTURE.
Other benefits of early treatment:
• Improve profiles, smiles and self-esteem
• Correct harmful habits, such as thumb sucking and tongue thrusting. Functional appliances develop the arches and make more room for the tongue.
• Improved speech
• Reduction of the time in fixed braces and frequently eliminates the need for the extraction of permanent teeth
• Increases nasal breathing which improves health
• Eliminates airway constriction
• Creates beautiful broad smiles by developing the arches
• Eliminates grinding of the teeth at night
• Prevents headaches and earaches
CALL US TODAY FOR A SCREENING APPOINTMENT.
Many older teens and adults have avoided “braces” because of their concern over the appearance of silver braces. We have been able to treat them with less obvious white braces, or even almost invisible Invisalign treatment. Ask us about these alternatives!