Orthodontia is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Braces are appliances or devices used to make these corrections. Braces are a common method of changing your appearance. Today, even adults are requesting braces. When teeth are poorly positioned, they can look bad and they are also more susceptible to periodontal (gum) disease and dental decay. A poor bite can also stress your jaw joints (TMJs) or your muscles and can cause pain. Both fixed and removable orthodontic appliances are available to correct the position of your teeth.
Who Needs Orthodontic Treatment?
Children as well as adults, are choosing to have orthodontic treatment for several reasons:
- malocclusion (bite or occlusion is off)
- tooth malalignment (crooked teeth)
- unhappy with appearance of teeth
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 longer.
Causes of 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 space.
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: like lip-biting (below) & thumb-sucking can shift the teeth out of alignment.
How To Take Care Of Your Braces
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 occur.
It is very important to maintain a daily plaque control program. Such a program may be as follows:
- A soft toothbrush should be used. A special orthodontic toothbrush can also be used to brush your teeth.
- 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, chikki 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 increase the chances of tooth decay.
- Regular dental appointments are important to monitor the health of the teeth and gums during orthodontic treatment.
- 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.