People get braces for a range of reasons. Braces can be a necessary preventative measure against a host of dangerous dental conditions, but you might not know if you need them for your own teeth.
The purpose of braces is to move teeth into the ideal position and align the bite of the patient’s teeth (occlusion). Malocclusion is a term used to describe the misalignment between the upper and lower dental arches. There are three classes of misalignment:
- Class I: A good relationship between upper and lower teeth. May be spacing or crowding
- Class II: Overbite. The lower first molar is positioned toward the back of the mouth and the upper jaw seems to come forward. There are 2 subclasses within this class that differentiate between possible positions of the upper front teeth.
- Class II: Underbite. The lower first molar is at the front of the mouth and the lower jaw appears to come forward.
Depending on which class you fall into, you may need a corrective solution like braces.
Many patients don’t have a problem with their bite, but instead deal with crowding. Crowding is when the teeth overlap or grow incorrectly. In severe cases, the tooth can be trapped inside the bone. Here are some reasons for teeth crowding:
- A small dental arch that doesn’t have sufficient space for adult teeth.
- Large adult teeth
- Losing baby teeth too early or not losing them at the appropriate time
Factors like these can negatively impact the alignment of adult teeth. Crowding is dangerous because it can prevent you from brushing and flossing correctly. If there is excessive buildup of bacteria present in your mouth, you could develop gingivitis or tooth decay.
3) Spacing Issues
Braces can also be used to correct spacing issues. Some patients have a gap between their 2 upper front teeth that is due to a small jaw or small teeth. While spacing issues can be present between any teeth, a gap between the 2 upper front teeth is the most common.
More often than not, teeth spacing (also called diastema) is a purely cosmetic issue. Most people who seek treatment for teeth spacing just want to change the appearance of their smile.
Other Ways that Braces Can Help
Having an incorrect bite or crowded teeth isn’t just an aesthetic problem. Braces are actually effective at treating a wide range of dental problems including:
- Jaw pain
- Pain while chewing
- Sleep apnea
- Teeth grinding
- Speech impediments
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
If you are experiencing any symptoms of the conditions listed above, you should contact your dentist to explore your treatment options and find the root of the problem. If your concern is strictly aesthetic-based, braces could still be a good option for you.
Having straight teeth can transform your smile and give you the boost of confidence you might be looking for. Contact Valley Ridge Dental Centre today to schedule an appointment and take control of your dental health.
When to Have a Consultation
It is recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists that children should have a consultation with a dentist at no later than 7 years old. Most likely, a 7-year-old will not be fitted for braces. The purpose of the initial consultation is to assess the issue and consider taking preventative measures that can erase the need for braces in the future.
If you are a parent, setting up a consultation for your child is essential to their dental health. It is best to catch any potential issues early to avoid the need for braces. Here is what may go on at their first consultation:
- Assessment of the patient’s facial structure and teeth.
- X-rays, models of the teeth, and photographs
- Formulation of a treatment plan
If I get braces, how long will I have to wear them?
The length of treatment varies between patients. If you have a complicated spacing or alignment issue, your treatment will be longer. If you are an adult, you can also expect a longer treatment.
When is the appropriate time to get braces?
You can benefit from braces at any time. Whenever your orthodontic issues arise would be the appropriate time to consider braces. Ideally, between 10-14 years old is when you should get braces because your mouth and head are still growing at that age. However, adult braces are still effective.
What kinds of braces are there?
Depending on the type of issue you are dealing with, your dentist may recommend a certain type. There are a few types of braces that are bonded to the teeth, such as metal and ceramic.
Ceramic brackets are either clear or tooth-coloured. They are popular because they are more discreet than metal brackets. Concealed braces are attached to the back of the teeth where they aren’t seen. Wires are used to move the teeth.
There is a new alternative to braces called aligners that are clear and customizable. They are a great option because they are invisible and removable. The removability helps prevent the buildup of food and plaque. Aligners are great for adults who have minor issues and want to correct them with something discreet.
Are Braces Painful?
Braces themselves aren’t painful, but you may experience some mild discomfort when you visit the dentist to have your braces tightened each month. You might experience soreness for a few days after having them tightened, but it should disappear quickly.
Braces are ultra-common and can treat a host of dental issues. To find out if you are a candidate for braces, you should see your dentist immediately. If you are a parent, you should set up a consultation for your child to assess their orthodontic health.
Sometimes, braces are a necessity. Many people hesitate because they are worried about experiencing pain or changing their appearance. However, braces should not be painful to wear. In terms of appearance, they may look a little funny while you have them on, but the improvement made to your smile after they are removed is life-changing.
Contact Valley Ridge Dental Centre today if you are in the NW Calgary Area. We are proud providers of high-quality orthodontic care and can offer our expert opinion about a potential dental issues.