Orthodontic treatment is not just a great way to improve your appearance. Braces, both traditional and non-traditional, also help with the longevity of your teeth, gums, and jaw. In addition, they can help you achieve a lifetime of good oral health.
Why do I need braces?
Dental braces are a common way to correct misaligned teeth and to correct bite problems.
Straight teeth improve more than just your smile. If your teeth do not fit together properly, it can lead to a variety of oral health problems including:
- Teeth grinding
- Chipping of teeth
- Premature wear of tooth enamel
- Development of gum disease
- Jaw joint problems
Even if your teeth appear straight when you look in the mirror, the upper and lower teeth may not fit together well.
Misaligned teeth can cause jawbone and joint problems, which can lead to headaches, migraines, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ pain).
Dental braces provide proper tooth and jaw alignment, which will improve your oral health.
What are the benefits of wearing braces?
Here are five additional benefits to orthodontic treatment:
- Correctly aligned teeth are easier to clean. A toothbrush can do a better job of removing plaque and food debris when your teeth are straight. Misaligned teeth allow cavity-causing germs to 'hide' between crowded teeth and interfere with proper brushing.
- An aligned bite makes it easier for you to chew and bite food.
- Better speech – When your teeth are misaligned it can affect the way you talk. Braces can adjust your teeth for clearer speech. If you have an overbite or underbite, orthodontic treatment can help you pronounce your words more distinctly.
- Better digestion – If your teeth are misaligned you may not be able to thoroughly chew your food. This can interfere with digestion. With orthodontic treatment, you'll be able to easily chew, improving digestion.
- Orthodontic treatment creates a beautiful smile that can give you confidence and ultimately improve your quality of life.
Who provides orthodontic treatment (braces)?
Dentists may provide some orthodontic treatment, or they will refer you to an orthodontist. An orthodontist is a dental professional who specializes in the treatment of malocclusion. An orthodontist is skilled in using dental procedures to straighten teeth and correct jaw alignment.
How old should a child be before getting braces?
A child's age isn't a factor when deciding if they need braces. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that young children see an orthodontist if a problem is noticed – but no later than age 7.
Some children can benefit from early treatment. A young patient's treatment usually consists of monitoring and guiding the growth of the jaw, so permanent teeth can emerge properly.
Can older adults benefit from dental braces?
Yes. There is no age limit to orthodontic treatment. Although dental professionals will check to make sure your teeth and jawbone are healthy before recommending braces.
Do braces hurt?
Having braces applied to your teeth causes no discomfort. Some discomfort is expected during treatment. This can be managed with over-the-counter medications, such as Tylenol.
Today's braces are made with new technology and materials which make them more comfortable to wear. Alternatives to traditional metal braces include:
- Ceramic braces
- Lingual braces
- Invisalign transparent aligners
How long will I need to wear braces?
Orthodontic treatment may last from one to three years, depending on your dental condition. After the braces are removed, you will need to wear a retainer to hold the teeth in place. Your orthodontist will tell you how long you will need to wear a retainer.
Orthodontic treatment takes time and patience, but the results are worth it.
You and your orthodontist will partner together to create a treatment plan that is right for you.