Crooked teeth and bite problems are often solved with braces and orthodontics. Sometimes, even when teeth appear straight, the upper and lower teeth may not fit together correctly, resulting in a bite problem. Braces are the most common way to correct crooked teeth and bite problems.
The good news is that braces and orthodontics can lead to a healthy, beautiful smile, regardless of a patient’s age. Treatment often takes time and patience, but the end result is worth it.
Problems With Crooked Teeth
There are a number of causes of a bad bite – sometimes it occurs naturally – other times it is the result of thumb-sucking, losing teeth too early or accidents.
Crooked and crowded teeth are more difficult to keep clean, which can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. Also when teeth are in the wrong place, they may keep the jaws from developing properly. An uneven bite can make biting, chewing and speaking more difficult, cause excessive wear on tooth enamel and lead to jaw problems.
Types of Orthodontics
There are different types of braces and orthodontic treatments that can be used to correct a bad bite. All use constant but gentle pressure to slowly move teeth and align jaws.
Braces: Braces consist of small brackets that are cemented to your teeth. They have slots in which a wire is inserted, and the wire is held to brackets using tiny rubber bands, or through a built-in mechanism that secures the wire. The wire, which is what actually moves teeth, is regularly adjusted to slowly shift your teeth and guide jaw growth in patients who are still growing. The brackets may be metal or tooth colored and sometimes they are placed on the backs of your teeth, making them invisible. Braces and orthodontic treatments are available for patients of all ages.
Aligners: Aligners are made of clear plastic or acrylic and are worn over your teeth, placing gentle pressure on them to align them. Each set of custom-made aligners is worn for a few weeks; then the patient receives a new set to advance treatment. They are removable and need to be taken out before eating, brushing and flossing.
Surgery: When jaws aren’t correctly lined up, teeth cannot be aligned properly. Some patients may have an upper or lower jaw that sticks out and causes an uneven bite. In some cases, patients may need braces or aligners combined with surgery to achieve a healthy bite.
Do’s and Don’ts of Braces And Orthodontic Treatment
- Keep your teeth clean when wearing braces.Brushing and flossing remove plaque; if plaque is not removed regularly it could lead to tooth decay or gum disease.
- Go to all of your orthodontic appointments.If you delay any adjustments, your treatment may take longer.
- Visit your dentist for cleanings and exams.It is harder to keep teeth clean if you have braces. So having regular cleanings at your dentist’s office is important. Your dentist will also check for tooth decay, gum disease, and loss of minerals in the enamel.
- Eat foods that could get stuck in your braces or bend the wires. These foods include nuts, corn on the cob, popcorn, hard candy, ice, and sticky foods like chewing gum, caramel, or other chewy candy. Ask your orthodontist and dentist which foods to avoid.
- Eat too many sugary foods.This can lead to tooth decay around the brackets that could permanently stain or damage your teeth.
- Play sports and active games without wearing a mouthguard.A mouthguard can protect your mouth and jaw from getting injured. Your orthodontist can suggest a proper mouthguard to wear with your braces.
Braces and orthodontic treatments are available to patients of all ages. If you are longing for the smile of your dreams, call us today to schedule a consultation and let’s work together to make that dream come true.