Patients often pursue braces in order to improve the appearance of their smiles, and that is certainly an important benefit of this treatment. However, patients get more from braces than attractive grins. There are a number of other positive effects that orthodontic intervention has for your smile.
Misaligned teeth can actually place strain on each other because they are subjected to forces that may be stronger than those they are designed to absorb. Teeth that overlap can potentially damage each other with friction. They also may not be positioned to distribute chewing forces proportionately, which can increase the risk of damage to your teeth.
When your dentist realigns your teeth with braces, it will also be easier to maintain your oral hygiene. It can be difficult to brush and floss crowded or otherwise misaligned teeth, and it may even be challenging for your hygienist to clean your teeth if they are overlapping. Plaque and tartar can accumulate in areas that are impossible to reach, giving bacteria the opportunity to proliferate. If that happens, you will likely face a greater risk of cavities and gum disease.
You may be able to gain all of these advantages without even needing to conceal your smile with metal brackets and wires during the orthodontic treatment process. A newer orthodontic treatment option called Invisalign straightens the teeth using clear plastic trays rather than standard orthodontic appliances. Those trays are nearly invisible, so you can appreciate the results of your treatment in real time. Additionally, the trays can be removed at meal time and for brushing and flossing, which makes Invisalign a more convenient treatment option.
Keep in mind, however, that in some cases, traditional braces may be more effective in achieving the desired results. Your dentist can educate you on the option that will best meet your needs.
Want more information about the benefits of orthodontic treatment? Call the office of Dr. John Morris at 269-979-1500 to ask any questions you may have or to schedule an evaluation to learn how braces may benefit you.
It’s easy to understand why patients who wear braces might reach the conclusion that they don’t need to have routine dental exams during their orthodontic treatment. After all, they’re probably seeing the dentist at least every few months for adjustments of the appliances or monitoring of progress with the Invisalign system. Why are additional trips to the office necessary?
In reality, however, you still need semi-annual exams and cleanings to maintain your oral health throughout orthodontic treatment. In fact, this preventive care becomes even more important when you’re wearing braces because the brackets can easily trap food and bacteria close to the teeth where they can do harm. It’s also very challenging for the patient to clean the teeth thoroughly while braces are on the teeth, as the brackets and wires limit the patient’s ability to access all of the teeth’s surfaces as well as the gumline.
…you still need semi-annual exams and cleanings to maintain your oral health throughout orthodontic treatment.
The dental hygienist can use specialized instruments to clean the surfaces of the teeth that are hard for you to reach. The hygienist also has better angles to clean in the area right around the brackets, which can be a danger zone for collecting bacteria.
Even if you’re using Invisalign to straighten your teeth, you should still get professional cleanings every six months to eliminate any plaque and tartar that have accumulated despite your efforts to keep them at bay by brushing and flossing.
You can also develop oral diseases like tooth decay and gum disease while you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, so it’s important to see your dentist at least twice a year to be monitored for signs of these issues. Smaller cavities and early-stage gum disease can be treated with non-invasive techniques. Furthermore, you are also screened for oral cancer at these appointments, and that can actually be a life-saving service, as oral cancer’s prognosis is much better when it is diagnosed and treated before it spreads to other tissues.
You do still need to get your routine dental check-ups while you are wearing braces. If you’ve fallen out of this habit since getting your braces, then contact our office to schedule an appointment and get back on track.
Plaque control is an important part of maintaining a healthy smile, as excess plaque provides a haven for a host of oral bacteria that can damage your teeth and gums. In many ways, this aspect of your oral health becomes even more important during orthodontic treatment. At the same time, however, it becomes more challenging to keep your teeth clean.
Conventional braces block your ability to reach some surfaces of your teeth and limit your access to your gumline. The brackets can trap food residue close to the surface of your teeth and give a nutritional source to cavity-causing bacteria.
Make sure that you’re using the proper tools in your oral hygiene routine while you are wearing braces. For example, a floss threader or pre-threaded floss can make it easier to navigate the floss around your archwires so that you can keep your gums clean.
Additionally, you may need to alter some of your habits while you are in orthodontics. For example, you may need to rinse after all meals so that you can eliminate most if not all of the food particles that might otherwise hang around. Sugar can become even more problematic for patients who wear braces, so you may want to limit your consumption of sweet treats.
Of course, your dentist plays an important role in limiting plaque buildup, so be sure to stick to a regimen of exams and professional cleanings every six months. This will help to eliminate any plaque that has accumulated despite your best efforts to avoid it.
After you’ve spent months or years in braces, you want to be able to show off a healthy, beautiful smile. So, do everything you can to keep plaque in check throughout treatment. Check in with one of our expert team members to be sure that you’re using the proper techniques in your oral hygiene routine and be sure to schedule routine appointments at least every six months for check-ups and professional cleanings.
Children should have their first dental visit about six months after first teeth emerge or around the age of twelve months. This early visit, along with subsequent visits, involves a brief dental exam so any early problems can be identified. It also provides the perfect opportunity for parents to learn the best ways to care for their child’s teeth, discuss the possible treatment needed like braces, and how interceptive orthodontics may be the perfect response to provide a healthy smile.
Naturally straight teeth are truly a gift; but for children not so blessed, your family dentist has options to offer. Depending on the issue to be addressed, your dental provider may introduce interceptive orthodontics. This focuses more on prevention than correction, and generally gets started while the child is still in growth stages.
The reason for this early intervention is multi-faceted. For many malocclusions, the problem starts with lack of jaw space. If this is addressed during the growing stages, the jaw can be changed to meet the needs of permanent teeth as they emerge with the use of any number of dental devices. Working with the jaw and teeth simultaneously may prevent overcrowding.
If orthodontic treatment is delayed until permanent teeth have erupted, it is too late to alter the jaw. At this point, the response may require the removal of one or more permanent teeth to make space. If this can be avoided, that would obviously be the best option.
Straight teeth mean more than a beautiful smile. Crooked or misshapen teeth provide areas that are difficult to reach with a tooth brush. It is these areas where dental plaque grows leading to the potential for dental decay and the occurrence of gum disease.
Crooked teeth can lead to many other complications that can impact oral health. Protruding teeth may result in a speech impediment like a lisp; when teeth are not aligned properly, the patient may start clenching the jaws and grinding their teeth. Teeth grinding often starts subconsciously during sleep, but can quickly escalate into a constant habit. This can lead to worn dental enamel and weakened teeth resulting in chipped and/or broken teeth.
Early intervention does not guarantee your child will never need to wear braces. But it might shorten the duration of treatment needed. The result can mean a stunning smile and healthy teeth and gums.
Orthodontics focuses on treatment for teeth that are not in proper alignment. This can include crooked or crowded teeth, malocclusion, gaps between the teeth, and other problems with your bite. Typical treatment involves braces, but there are other options as well, depending upon your individual issues and preferences.
Your orthodontic treatment begins with a consultation. During this appointment, you’ll discuss the problems with your teeth and the best options for correcting those issues. Treatment is based on each patient’s unique, individual needs in order to ensure teeth are properly aligned. If braces are recommended, options to be considered include traditional braces, lingual braces, or aligner trays.
During the consultation, photographs and X-rays will be taken of your teeth and molds might be used to demonstrate how your teeth look now, before treatment, and how they will look after treatment is completed. The timeframe as well as the cost and any concerns you might have about the process will also be addressed.
Types of Orthodontic Treatment
Orthodontics has advanced over the years, providing many more options beyond traditional braces. Some of these options include:
- Porcelain braces. Made of porcelain instead of metal, these braces are less visible
- Lingual braces. These braces are placed on the backs of the teeth instead of the front
- Clear aligners. A series of custom-made plastic trays that gradually shift teeth over time
Your preference for one treatment over another is something else you’ll discuss during the consultation. Adults, who prefer not to advertise that they’re wearing braces, often select less-visible options. However, in some cases, traditional braces will be the most effective. Treatment will depend upon the type and severity of your misalignment.
For more information or to schedule your orthodontic consultation, contact the office of Dr. John Morris today.