Have you ever seen anybody wearing braces? Perhaps you wore some yourself, or maybe you’re wearing some right now. They’re fantastic for straightening out teeth, but did you know that they are also the result of years of scientific research?
The field of study which revolves around the ‘bite’ (the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth) is called orthodontics.
What is Orthodontics?
In a nutshell, the purpose of orthodontics is to correct any problems with the way your teeth are spread out and positioned in your mouth. If a person has teeth that are far apart, too close together or simply not straight, then a trip to the orthodontist can be a real lifesaver (metaphorically speaking).
Because the main aim of orthodontics is to correct the ‘posture’ of teeth, the treatment needs to be quite severe in that it must force the teeth into the correct position. This can be achieved through the use of a dental brace.
What are Orthodontic Braces?
Some people only require temporary retainer type braces, which can be taken in and out at will, whilst others will need a fixed brace, which is a series of wires and with metal clamps cemented directly on to the teeth. A fixed brace can sometimes be attached to the reverse of teeth to minimize its visibility. In more serious cases of teeth misalignment, a head brace is sometimes used which requires a head-support in order to give the brace enough leverage to actually move the teeth.
Here’s a quick rundown of how braces work: the metal wire that runs across the front of the teeth is designed to exert pressure in certain places. Providing it is of sufficient strength, this pressure slowly but surely causes the teeth to move within the gum and jawbone. The reason patients wear a brace for so long is that this process of teeth movement can take a while. If you think about it, the teeth are anchored firmly into the jawbone; to get them to move permanently would take a constant pressure applied over a long period. This is exactly what a brace does. Braces normally need to be adjusted periodically to tighten the wires. This can cause some discomfort in the patient as the moving of teeth can cause (perhaps unsurprisingly) severe toothache.
Who Can Benefit from Orthodontics and Braces?
There is a common misconception that braces are within the realm of teenagers only, however there are literally millions of people of all ages that require orthodontic treatment every day, including adults.
What are the Benefits of Orthodontics and Braces?
Quite simply, a better looking, more functional set of teeth! Once moved to their final locations, the teeth will appear much straighter and be easier to maintain and clean! This improvement boosts the confidence of the patient and also makes their life easier with regards to keeping the teeth clean and bacteria free. The patient may also find that their ‘bite’ is more comfortable, which should make things such as eating a lot easier! The long-term benefits with orthodontics are that the results will last. Once teeth have been shifted via the installation of a brace, they will usually require retention in place for an indefinite amount of time to ensure the teeth do not move again.
What are the Risks of Braces and Orthodontic Treatments?
The risks with regards to orthodontics and braces are actually rather minimal. The process of moving the teeth is done at such a slow pace that should any issues arise they can usually be addressed quickly. The most prevalent issue that brace wearers come across is the pain associated with having their braces tightened. This can’t really be called a risk, though, as it’s a part of the process. Usually analgesics help with pain management before it gets too intense; however in extreme cases of brace-related pain, the orthodontist can remove the brace entirely.
Braces and Orthodontics: The Bottom Line
Orthodontic treatment comes highly recommended to anyone who feels they may need it. Whether you’ve been in an accident and had some teeth knocked into a strange position, or you’re simply not happy with the way your teeth are sitting – having orthodontic treatment could very well be the answer you’re looking for.