In the right circumstances, your smile can be worth more than gold. A critical component of oral hygiene is the quality of our smile and all the facets that contribute to its optimal health; and that’s why there’s something called Orthodontics. So, in this feature, we’ll be talking about orthodontics and how orthodontic treatment can play a riveting role in improving overall oral hygiene.
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that corrects teeth and jaws that are not positioned properly. When your teeth are not aligned properly, they become harder to clean and in cases where your teeth are aligned in ways that overlap, it could be harder for you to get rid of plaque and tartar, which furthers your chances of getting cavities. Also, crooked teeth can cause extra stress on chewing muscles which can lead to headaches, Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (where the joints in your jaw bone become inflamed leading to extreme pain), and neck/shoulder/back pain. And let’s not forget the obvious; misaligned teeth can affect your smile. All these and more are why Orthodontics and Orthodontic treatment are recommended for whosoever applies.
How do you know if you need orthodontic treatment?
Many a time, you don’t. Most people don’t know if they need orthodontic treatment till they see their dentist or orthodontist. During a dental checkup, your dentist does a comprehensive examination of your teeth and afterwards, may recommend some treatment in the case of misaligned teeth. There are instances where a dentist can recommend some form of orthodontic treatment. Some of them include:
- Over bite: upper front teeth stick out over the lower teeth
- Under bite: lower teeth stick out, with the upper teeth being too far back.
- Cross bite: When the upper and lower teeth do not meet correctly when you bite down.
- Open bite: When your upper and lower teeth don’t touch when you close your mouth.
- Spacing: Gaps between teeth as a result of missing teeth or teeth that do not completely fill-up the mouth. These gaps could constitute breeding grounds for bacteria.
- Crowding: When there isn’t enough space for teeth in your mouth or all your teeth are too closely packed.
All these dental problems affect the overall structural integrity of the teeth leading to subtle complications that are often ignored by most people; complications that worsen oral health over time.
Orthodontic treatments are a very suitable way to correct these anomalies. Most of them involve the use of fixed or removable appliances which work to unify spaces and align the teeth by applying pressure on the teeth and jaws. Some of them include:
- Braces: devices used in orthodontics to align and straighten teeth, helping to position them with regard to a person’s bite. They consist of a muddle of wires which are adjusted regularly to apply pressure to teeth.
- Aligners: Aligners are similar to braces in that they help to move teeth in the same way, but do not consist of wires. They are virtually invisible and can be removed for eating, brushing and flossing.
- Splints: These are jaw repositioning appliances worn on either top or bottom jaw and help train the jaw to close in a more favorable position.
- Removable retainers: worn on the roof of the mouth to prevent shifting of the teeth to their previous position.
All these and much more are the various means which provide the best treatment for misalignment.
Misaligned teeth and an incorrect bite may affect more than just the appearance of your smile. You may develop speech problems, Jaw pain, difficulties in chewing and eating, Sleep apnea caused by mouth breathing and snoring, clenching and grinding of teeth, and gum disease and tooth decay. It is imperative to consult your dentist about the subject of orthodontic treatment so you can maintain a sustainable level of oral health.
To learn more about how to care for your teeth during, or prior to your orthodontic care, contact us for a free consultation.