Dental braces are not really that uncommon today; many children and teenagers have braces and those of us lucky enough to have a perfectly aligned smile will most certainly know somebody who was not so fortunate. Today it is not even that uncommon for adults to have braces and even such high profile celebrities as Tom Cruise and Katherine Heigl have been spotted sporting such an addition to their smile.
Why get braces?
Braces can be used purely for aesthetic reasons – to correct a crooked and unsightly set of teeth; and braces can be used to correct more serious problems such as overbites, underbites, crossbites and any bite misalignment that can put immense pressure on the tissues and bones in the jaw. For this reason braces are an extremely important tool in orthodontic treatment and many people benefit from the aesthetic and structural problems it can fix.
The basic idea of a brace is to use and manipulate brackets and wires in a way that will put enough pressure on the teeth to pull them into a more desirable position. Braces are often worn for as many as 2-3 years and that is because movement of the teeth has to be done slowly to avoid damage to the bones and tissues beneath the surface. As the teeth slowly change position new bone will grow around the newly positioned tooth, therefore, if the teeth are moved too quickly, there will not be enough time for this to happen and the teeth will become loose.
In for the long haul?
Undergoing this sort of dental treatment will require dedication and persistence for a long period to get the most out of the treatment. The patient will have to attend regular appointments to tweak and adjust the brackets in order for treatment to continue progressing. Once the treatment is complete and the teeth are successfully repositioned your teeth will usually maintain that position permanently.
Today these sort of dental treatments have progressed wildly from the traditional ‘metal mouth’ idea that has become an icon of what wearing a brace has to be. Braces can be very discreet and can even be invisible if you would prefer to undergo your treatment quietly. Some types of brace do not even require you to give up your gum chewing habit or your love of sticky toffee – although your dentist would probably advise you to give up the latter anyway – and so with some types of treatment it will have very little impact on your day-to-day life.
No pain, no gain
There are obviously some drawbacks of undergoing this sort of orthodontic treatment such as the pain and discomfort following adjustment; the necessary extra attention you need to pay to your oral hygiene; and mouth sores due to the irritation of fixtures on your gums. Nevertheless, when your misaligned mouth is causing you trouble, whether that be aesthetic or functional trouble, the small inconveniences that having a brace would mean are probably worth it for the fabulous results you would achieve.
A perfectly straight smile is only one orthodontic treatment away and by speaking to your dentist about your options you may well find your treatment would be much simpler than you could ever have imagined.
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