Orthodontics comes from the Greek words “orthos”, meaning correct or straight and “odontes”, meaning teeth. It is a specialty that deals with the development and management of deviations from the normal position of the teeth, jaws and face. These deviations are not a disease but simply a marked variation from what is considered to be the normal position of teeth. Orthodontic treatment can improve the function and appearance of the mouth and face. Braces can be fixed or removable and are used to straighten the teeth and encourage growth and development.
Orthodontic treatment can have numerous benefits, some of which are listed below.
Teeth which are crowded or poorly aligned have an increased potential of accumulating plaque and bacteria as the potential for natural tooth cleansing reduces. This can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Whilst multiple factors will influence the overall health of teeth and gums, studies have shown that straight teeth may be easier to clean.
Everyone wants a beautiful smile. An attractive smile contributes to one’s self esteem and self-confidence. Orthodontics is a short-term investment with long-term benefits. Straight teeth and a pleasant smile offer lifetime benefits. Studies have found that children were teased more about their teeth than anything else e.g. clothes, weight, ears. Studies also show that a person’s dental appearance can have a significant effect on how they feel about themselves.
When teeth don’t bite together properly eating can be difficult. Individuals with a poor occlusion can find it difficult and embarrassing to eat because of poor control of biting through food or difficulty chewing on the back teeth.
The risk of trauma/injury to upper incisors has been shown to increase to 45% for children with significantly protruding upper front teeth.
Such trauma can result in a tooth fracture and/or damage of the tooth’s nerve. Orthodontic treatment is used to reduce the prominence of upper front teeth thereby reducing the likelihood of trauma to these teeth.
Teeth which are not erupting in the normal sequence may cause damage to the roots of adjacent teeth. Cyst formation can also occur around unerupted or impacted teeth.
Because everyone is different, there is not a standard answer to this question. The majority of children in the United Kingdom commence orthodontic treatment between the ages of 11-12. Interceptive treatment (for example where there is a crossbite), may be necessary before this, which is why regular dental check-ups are essential.
Age is not necessarily a limiting factor for orthodontic treatment. So long as individuals have healthy teeth, gingiva and supporting bone, treatment can be successful at any age. Many adults choose orthodontic treatment to improve their smile, and/or increase function to support good oral health.
At Harley Street Dental Studio, we have a number of specialist Orthodontists, including Dr Sarah Sadek, who will assess your condition and advise a treatment plan using the latest orthodontic techniques.
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