What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental irregularities. Tooth movement is accomplished by light pressure exerted on the teeth. The pressure is applied by a variety of orthodontic appliances. These appliances have progressed by use of space aged research to apply gentle forces over the course of treatment.
What causes orthodontic problems?
Most orthodontic problems are inherited. Examples of these genetic problems are crowding, spacing, protrusion, extra or missing teeth and some jaw growth problems. Some malocclusions develop over time and can be caused by thumb sucking, mouth breathing, dental disease, the early or late loss of primary teeth, accidents, poor nutrition, or some medical problems. Usually an orthodontist is able to treat all conditions successfully.
When should you see an orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child, first visit an Orthodontist by age 7-- or earlier if an orthodontic problem is detected by parents, family dentist or physician. By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the bite. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. Orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are present. That's important, because some orthodontic problems are easier to correct if they are found early. Dr. Sheer is the specialist who has the knowledge to determine when the time for treatment is ideal for each patient.
What are the advantages of early interceptive treatment?
In some cases, Dr. Sheer might find a problem that can benefit from early treatment. Early treatment may prevent more serious problems from developing, and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. Some of the most direct results of early interceptive treatment are:
- creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
- creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
- lowering the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- preserving space for unerupted teeth
- reducing the need for tooth removal
- improve the way lips meet
- improve appearance and self-esteem
- reducing treatment time in braces
Are you a candidate for orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontics are not merely for improving the aesthetics of the smile; orthodontic treatment improves bad bites (malocclusions). Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. Malocclusions affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth or feel about your smile. Some signs that your bite might not be right:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
- Breathing through the mouth
- Thumb-sucking or tongue-thrusting habits
- Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
- Jaws that are too far forward to back
- Protruding teeth
- An unbalanced facial appearance
- Grinding or clenching of the teeth
- Upper and lower teeth that do not meet
Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile--it creates a healthier you!
How long does treatment usually take?
Although every case is different, patients wear braces from one to two years. Treatment times vary with factors that include the severity of the problem being corrected and how well the patient follows instructions.
Patients who brush and floss thoroughly and regularly; avoid hard and sticky foods; wear their rubber bands and/or headgear as instructed; and keep their scheduled appointments usually finish treatment on-time with exceptional results. Patients remain under Dr. Sheer's care during the retention phase.