A beautiful smile is an asset. Facial proportion, dental health and aesthetics contribute to creating that unforgettable smile. Some are blessed and born with good looks, and others can enhance what they have.
Benefits of Straight Teeth
Straight teeth contribute significantly to an attractive smile, and can do wonders for one’s self-esteem and self-confidence. For some, it can even alter their attitudes on life and lifestyle.
Aesthetics are not the only reason for straightening teeth. Crooked teeth are often difficult to clean and maintain. They are susceptible to dental decay and gum disease. This can make treatment extensive and costly if delayed until much later.
Speech can also be affected in some instances where the teeth are poorly aligned, or when the upper and lower jaws are not in correct alignment with each other.
Trauma of dental tissues can also result from a bad bite. Protruding front teeth are prone to accidental injuries. Sometimes, a deep bite (excessive overlap between upper and lower teeth), crossbites (single tooth reverse-bite), or jaw discrepancies create a traumatic bite. For some people, there may be gum trauma where a bad bite chews at the gums, causing gum recession or ulcerations and loose teeth. For others, a bad bite or jaw positions can put additional strain on the jaw joints, resulting in joint pains and tension headaches.
Children and the Orthodontist Visit
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic check up not later than 7 years old. Although it is unusual to start treatment before the age of 7, early orthodontic consultation allows potential problems to be identified and preventive measures taken, e.g. discouragement of a thumb-sucking or pacifier habit, or the prevention of early loss of primary teeth due to poor oral hygiene.
Interceptive orthodontics may be indicated in some children between 7-12 years old if they have traumatic bites or jaw discrepancies. Comprehensive orthodontics usually commences around the time when all the permanent teeth have erupted. This involves the use of fixed braces to straighten and align teeth.
It is a misconception that braces are only suitable for children or teenagers. Braces can still work for adults. With advancements in technology and orthodontics, there are also options for more aesthetic orthodontic devices to straighten teeth.
Types of Braces
The conventional type of braces is stainless steel. There are also braces more aesthetically appealing than their metal predecessors, such as ceramic braces which are tooth-coloured so they are less obvious. Lingual braces, or braces that adhere to the back of the teeth instead of the front, are also available. Another option is Invisalign. It makes use of a series of transparent aligners to gradually straighten the teeth. These ‘invisible’ aligners are comfortable to wear and are removable.
Every individual is unique and every face is different. The treatment plan and objectives may differ for each. Discuss with your orthodontist your concerns and expectations, and find out about the treatment, alternatives, risks and benefits, as well as costs and payment plans before you decide.
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