Orthodontics is a specialty field in dentistry concerned with the treatment of improper bites and crooked teeth. Orthodontic treatment is used to correct a “bad bite”. This condition, known as malocclusion, involves teeth that are crowded or crooked. In some cases, the upper and lower jaws may not meet properly, and even though the teeth may appear straight, the individual may have an uneven bite.
Protruding, crowded, or irregularly spaced teeth may be inherited. Thumb-sucking, losing teeth prematurely, and accidents can also lead to these conditions.
Correcting the problem can create a nice-looking smile, but more important, orthodontic treatment results in a healthier mouth. That’s because crooked or crowded teeth make cleaning the mouth difficult, which can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and possibly tooth loss. An improper bite can interfere with chewing and speaking, can cause abnormal wear to tooth enamel, and can lead to problems with the jaw.
The benefits of orthodontic treatment include a healthier mouth, a more pleasing appearance, and teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime.
Braces (also called orthodontic appliances) can be as inconspicuous-or as noticeable- as you like. Brackets-the part of the braces that attach to each tooth-are smaller and can sometimes be attached to the back of the tooth, making the brackets less noticeable.
Brackets can be made of metal, ceramic, or plastic-or a combination of these materials. Some brackets are clear or tooth-colored. There are brackets shaped like hearts or footballs, and elastics (orthodontic rubber bands) in school colors or holiday hues such as red, white, and blue.
There are two types of orthodontic braces: fixed, which are worn at all times and can only be removed by the dentist, and removable, which the patient can take out of the mouth. The dentist selects the type based on your needs.
Malocclusions often become noticeable between the ages of 6 and 12, as the child’s permanent (adult) teeth erupt. Treatment often begins between ages 8 and 14. Treatent that begins while a child is growing helps produce optimal results. As a result, children should have an orthodontic evaluation no later than age 7. By then, they have a mix of primary (baby) and permanent (adult) teeth. The dentist can spot problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth early on, while the primary teeth are present. That’s why regular dental examinations are important.
Children aren’t the only ones who can benefit from orthodontics. If you’re an adult, it’s not too late to correct problems such as crooked or crowded teeth, overbites, underbites, incorrect jaw position, or jaw-joint disorders. The biological process involved in moving teeth is the same at any age. Adult treatment usually takes longer than a child’s treatment. No matter your age, it’s never too late to improve your dental health and beautify your smile.
Although treatment plans are customized for each patient, most wear their braces from one to three years, depending on the conditions needing correcting. This is followed by a period of wearing a “retainer” that holds teeth in their new positions. Although a little discomfort is expected during treatment, today’s braces are more comfortable than ever before. Newer materials apply a constant, gentle force to move teeth and usually require fewer adjustments.
Hampton Dentistry offers a wide range of services to children and adults seeking to improve their dental health or appearance. Our in-house Orthodontist, Dr. John Baker, offers free initial consultations. Dr. Baker has an in-depth knowledge of orthodontic treatment, and the ability to convey procedures in simple language. In diagnosis and treatment planning, Dr. Baker defines the nature of the problem, designs a treatment strategy based on the specific needs and desires of the individual, and presents the treatment strategy in such a way that the patient fully understands the projected outcome of his or her decision.
It’s nice to have everything your mouth needs in one place – dentistry, periodontal, and orthodontics. I’ve not only gained a healthy mouth, but a great bunch of friends.
The staff at Hampton Dentistry are truly attentive and friendly. Dr. Baker, with her kind and honest demeanor, puts one’s mind completely at ease.
Just about every facet of oral problem solvers can be found on the premises by leading experts in their field. But topping the list is Dr. Danielle Baker herself!