Orthodontics and Braces in El Cajon
It's tempting to think of braces as having only aesthetic goals in mind, as it's their most common selling point. Straight teeth, after all, do make for an attractive smile, a worthy goal in itself. But braces accomplish much more. The dental conditions they correct are varied, conditions that do not improve on their own, very much the opposite.
Braces, the way they work, is by putting slight pressure on your teeth so that they will gradually move to the correct position. Both modern aligners and braces that employ traditional technology follow this same basic principle, if through different implementations. Both also aim to address many of the same problems, but only your orthodontist can help you decide which solution is best for you or your child.
Crowded teeth will usually only become a bigger problem with age, it's why braces are typically recommended early in life. Even minor crowding, which may not seem like a visible concern, creates hard-to-reach areas so that bristles or even floss can't access. Plaque builds in these spaces and can turn to tartar thanks to the minerals in our saliva. Unchecked, the bacteria that live within eventually decay the tooth's enamel, causing cavities.
On the opposite end, braces can also help close gaps between teeth that are too far apart just as it can treat crowding.
Beyond decay, teeth can suffer wear over a period of time due to incorrect bites. Braces can treat overbites, underbites, crossbites, and others, just as well as they can spacing between teeth.
Your orthodontist may also recommend braces to treat complications related to the jaw joint, also known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Symptoms of which include popping noises when speaking or chewing, as well as discomfort and pain.
Investing in Your Smile
Braces require an investment of time but pay dividends in a smile you're proud to show off and savings in the future by avoiding invasive, and often expensive, procedures. Contact your orthodontist to learn about your options.
Bite Problems and How to Fix Them
Orthodontic treatment can resolve a number of bite problems, which often become evident by around age 7. These include underbite, crossbite, or excessive overbite, where upper and lower teeth don't close in the proper position; open bite, where space remains between top and bottom teeth when the jaws are closed; and crowding or excessive spacing, where teeth are spaced too close together or too far apart.
To correct bite problems, teeth need to be moved — but doing that isn't as hard as you might think! Teeth aren't fixed rigidly in their supporting bone; instead, they're held in place by a hammock-like structure called the periodontal ligament, which is very responsive to forces placed on the teeth. Orthodontic appliances move teeth by careful application of light, constant pressure. This force can be applied via metal wires that run through small brackets attached to the teeth (braces), or via the semi-rigid plastic of clear aligners.
Orthodontics is for Children — and Adults
Having orthodontic treatment in childhood is ideal in order to take advantage of a youngster's natural growth processes to help move the teeth into proper alignment. Like the rest of the body, the teeth and jaws are now changing rapidly. So at this time, it's possible (for example) to create more room for teeth in a crowded mouth by using a “palatal expander” to rapidly widen the upper jaw. This phase of growth modification can shorten overall treatment time and ensure the best result if additional orthodontic appliances are needed.
Types of Orthodontic Appliances
Clear braces use brackets made of ceramic or plastic which, except for the slim archwire, are hardly visible.
Removable clear aligners are an alternative to fixed orthodontic appliances. They consist of a series of clear plastic “trays” that fit over your teeth exactly; each one moves your teeth a little bit until they are in the proper position. Whether fixed or removable, each type of appliance may have advantages or disadvantages in particular situations. After a complete examination, the best treatment options for you will be discussed.
Lingual braces are just like traditional metal braces — except they're bonded to the back of your teeth (the tongue side) so that no one can see them.
Retention & Post Orthodontic Care
Once your orthodontic treatment is completed, it's extremely important to wear a retainer as directed. That's because teeth naturally tend to drift back to their original locations — which is the last thing you want after you've gone to the trouble of straightening them! Wearing a retainer holds your teeth in their new position long enough for new bone and ligament to re-form around them, and helps keep your gorgeous new smile looking good for a lifetime.
To schedule your child's braces consultation, contact our El Cajon Dental office at (619) 440-5915 today!
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