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Dental Health

The Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment


Author:

Adam Weiss, DMD

Private Practice, Pennsylvania

Medically Reviewed On: November 07, 2013

Besides the back teeth not meshing properly, the malocclusion can also include the front teeth. Protruding front teeth, or “bucked” teeth is called overjet and creates facial imbalance as well as risk for dental injury—a concern in young, active patients. The opposite problem—called an underbite—also creates facial imbalance and is best intercepted during the growing years. Both of the above malocclusions of the front teeth usually correspond with a malocclusion of the back teeth. When the back teeth touch, the amount of overlap of the upper front teeth with the lower front teeth is termed overbite. Too much overbite can lead to excess and/or unusual wear of the enamel of the lower front teeth. In time, the lower teeth can start chipping, which is an esthetic problem and a difficult area for the dentist to fix. When the front teeth don’t overlap at all, this is termed openbite, and can lead to excessive wear of the back teeth. All of the above conditions result in less than ideal function with potentially negative affects on the long-term health of the teeth and supporting bone. Orthodontic treatment is intended to treat malocclusions to bring the teeth and jaws into proper balance and function.

Crowded teeth
Severely crowded teeth are more difficult to brush and floss—and teeth with spacing can have areas for food impaction. Both conditions can make the teeth harder to clean and floss. Over the long term, these problems can lead to periodontal disease with associated gum and bone loss and possible loss of teeth. Orthodontic treatment can correct these conditions, allowing for teeth that are easier to maintain. The loss of teeth can result in the tipping and/or spacing of teeth around the missing tooth. Orthodontic treatment can often reposition these shifted teeth prior to the family dentist placing a replacement tooth. This allows the replacement work, either a bridge or implant, to have the best long-term prognosis because it is being done in more ideal conditions. Thus, orthodontic treatment can be quite beneficial in helping to restore a mouth that requires significant rehabilitation.
 

Conclusion

While still considered a treatment for adolescents, orthodontic treatment has extended its treatment range to children as young as seven in specific instances as well as adults of any age. Some of my most appreciative patients are in their 60s. While there are risks with any treatment modality, those associated with orthodontic treatment are minimal compared to other medical and dental procedures. These risks need to be discussed with your orthodontist prior to initiating any treatment. If you want to know if orthodontic treatment is appropriate for you or your child, a good referral source is your family dentist. You can also find an orthodontist in your area who is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists by going to their Web site at http://www.aaortho.org.
 

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