The basic concept of braces to correct dental problems goes back as far as the ancient Etruscans, but thankfully, dental technology has come a long way since then! In fact, it has made huge strides even since only 25 to 50 years ago, and today, there are more options than ever before for correcting tooth misalignment issues.
There are many options as to type of braces as well as to how and how fast you want them put in – and by whom. The important thing is choosing the braces that are right for you.
Below, we will look briefly at your main decisions to make when it comes to dealing with tooth malocclusions and similar dental issues.
Deciding On Whether To Seek Treatment
Minor tooth imperfections are the common possession of almost everyone and may not be worth “messing with.” But when you have visibly noticeable problems or if a tooth alignment issue is important to you, then it IS worth having a professional orthodontist look at it.
Some common problems include tooth overcrowding, overbite, underbite, crossbite, and open bite. Typical symptoms include visible misalignment when mouth is shut, difficulty chewing/talking normally, constantly biting your inner cheeks, and changes in the contours of the face.
Usually, tooth misalignments are hereditary, but they can also result from things like thumb-sucking, cleft lips/palate, lack of good dental care, or physical injuries.
Sometimes, simply removing a tooth can correct the problem – as with overcrowding. Or surgery of some sort on the jaw may solve the issue. But dental braces are far and away the most common method of correcting significant tooth misalignments.
Forming a Plan For Tooth Re-alignment
Once you make the decision to do something about tooth misalignment, the next step is to decide who to see about it. For best results, you should contact your local orthodontist – orthodontists specialize in this area of dentistry (as opposed to a general dentist.) Look for a specialist with a lot of experience and consistently positive local reviews.
Then you should decide, in the case of children, whether you need to opt for two-phase treatment. This takes into account that the child doesn’t yet have his or her permanent teeth in.
Otherwise, you might want to opt for same-day braces, unless it’s a particularly complicated case, so as to save time and money by getting started in a single appointment. (Of course, you will likely also have to have an initial interview appointment and some follow-ups later on.)
Selecting Your Preferred Type of Dental Braces
Finally, you will want to examine the various options as far as types of braces are concerned. Be sure you choose an orthodontist who offers a wide range of options and is skilled at performing all procedures involved in all of them.
Traditional metal braces are still very popular. They function by means of metal brackets that are attached to each tooth, which are tied together with a system of metal wires and “rubber bands.” The orthodontist can tighten them to just the right degree and direction of pressure during each step of the process.
Ceramic braces are much like metal braces except that the brackets are tooth-colored so as to be less noticeable. They do cost a little more than metal braces, however, and can be difficult to keep from staining.
Lingual braces are basically metal braces that are put on the inside of the teeth instead of on the outside – to hide them. They are more difficult to clean and to adjust, however, and some find them uncomfortable.
The most recent innovation in tooth-realignment technology is clear plastic aligner trays like Invisalign. These work by wearing a series of trays, each of which picks up where the last one left off in gently nudging your teeth into the “correct” position.
Invisalign requires fewer dental visits and may shorten treatment time. It isn’t appropriate for all cases, but when it is a viable option, it makes braces essentially “invisible.” Also, you can remove the acrylic trays when eating and have fewer lifestyle adjustments to make during the treatment process. This option is especially popular with teens and with those especially concerned about the looks of their smile while wearing braces.
As you can see, there are quite a few ways to straighten out misaligned teeth in the 2020s! And this isn’t even an exhaustive list.
To learn more about the many options available today in regard to braces and tooth re-alignment treatment, contact Doctor Beauchamp at Lecompte Orthodontics today for a free initial consultation and to schedule an in-office exam! We are located in Port Orange, Florida, and serve surrounding communities and all comers.