According to the Australian Research Center for Population Oral Health, improper bites occur in almost 50% of the population. The report goes further to say that 2% of the population is going through the orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists are dentists that have added clinical education to treat improper bites (malocclusion). This problem may be caused by jaw issues and tooth irregularity.
Environmental and genetic factors play a part in creating bite problems and crooked teeth, says Terry Pracht, DDS, the past president of American Association of Orthodontics. The genetic factors include teeth with excessive space, crammed teeth and malocclusions. Crooked teeth can also be a result of thumb sucking, injuries suffered to the jaw as well as tongue thrusting.
When it comes to orthodontic treatment, there are 3 stages involved. The first stage is where devices are used to achieve room in the mouth. An orthognatic surgery can also be performed. Palatal expanders, for example, can be used to expand the width of palate whereas lingual bars can be used to expand your lower jaw.
The second stage is the active corrective. This is done once braces have been positioned on teeth. Teeth are adjusted and evened out while at the same time correcting malocclusion. This is done over a span of time depending on how irregular the teeth are and jaw problems. The third stage is known as the retention stage. This follows after the braces have been removed and when your teeth are monitored using retainer, fixed or removable. You will need additional orthodontic visits to maintain the new look.
Three decades ago, getting braces meant having metal bands cemented around all your teeth. Aesthetic and cosmetic dentistry has advanced since then. The braces today are mostly attached to the cheek side of your teeth and the tongue side of the teeth. This will depend on the recommendations of the orthodontist. The bands, braces and arch wires are also multicolored. This makes them amusing for the kids, teenagers and adolescents.
Invisalign system is the new alternative to braces. This uses removable aligners which are worn throughout to help move teeth into alignment. You can remove the aligners when flossing, brushing and eating.
You will get detailed guidance on caring for the braces from your dental hygienist or dentist. There are toothbrushes designed for the orthodontic patients that you can use. You need to brush your teeth 2 to 3 times a day. This is done to remove plaque in order to prevent the inflammation of gum tissues (gingivitis). You can use oral irrigators to get rid of food debris as well as irrigate gum tissues to remove bacteria that cause odor and diseases.
Once the braces are removed by the dentist, you need to wear a retainer. You can do so during the day or at night. You can clean the retainer using warm water, toothpaste and toothbrush. In addition to that, you have to make appointments to see your dentist at least twice every year for professional teeth cleaning. You also need to visit an orthodontist for maintenance.