Orthodontics deal with the prevention and treatment of problems related to malpositioned teeth, jawbones, joints and muscles used for chewing. The goal is to improve teeth alignment and plan future teeth eruption.
The importance of interceptive treatment
It is recommended that children receive an orthodontic assessment before the age of seven. Interceptive treatment helps stop bad habits early on and give sufficient time to correct issues that could become more severe once the growth of the face and jaws is completed.
Moreover, early assessment gives the opportunity to position the jawbones correctly and create enough space to realign overlapping teeth.
Causes of malocclusion
Overlapping teeth and misaligned jaws constitute malocclusion. It is often due to hereditary problems, but can also be the consequence of bad oral habits, dental injuries or accidents.
The crowding of the teeth, spacing and cleft lip or palate are among the hereditary issues. Tonsillar and adenoid hypertrophy, dental decay and early loss of primary or permanent teeth can also lead to malocclusion.
Certain habits (generally seen in children) can lead to defects that necessitate orthodontic treatment. Such habits include: lip biting, tongue thrusting, thumb sucking and mouth breathing.
Types of malocclusion
There are three types of malocclusion:
- The first type concerns spacing or crowding, with normal jaws;
- The second type is when the lower molars fit the upper molars but are positioned toward the throat;
- The third type occurs when the lower molars are far forward and do not fit into their corresponding upper molars.
Benefits of the orthodontic treatment
Orthodontic procedures can improve your oral health, but also your general condition. The benefits are numerous:
- cessation of bad oral habits;
- more self-confidence;
- clearer speech;
- monitoring of the growth of your jaw;
- planning of teeth eruption.
Untreated orthodontic problems can lead to many health issues:
- dental decay;
- gum diseases;
- damaged jawbones;
- joint problems;
- speech impediments;
- chewing difficulties;
- chipped teeth;
- tooth loss.
A growing number of adults decide to undergo orthodontic treatments. Nowadays, more than 25% of orthodontics patients are adults.
Different treatment options to improve malpositioned teeth, jawbones, joints and muscles used for chewing are available for patients of all ages.
Among the choices are:
- Invisalign: clear aligners;
- dental braces: metal or ceramic device attached to the teeth;
- retainers: keep the teeth straight and in the right position;
- headgear: a source of anchorage to apply force to the teeth and jaws;
- extraction: removal of one or more teeth to create space for coming ones;
- surgery: only used in severe cases, as recommended by a dentist.
When the time comes to determine the length and cost of the orthodontics treatment, many factors are taken into consideration, such as the extent of the issue, the state of the gums and each tooth and the patient’s cooperation.
Your dentist can answer each of your questions on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of orthodontics problems. This will help you decide of the best treatment for your condition.