The mere mention of braces is enough to send a parent into a state of panic. When the subject of braces comes up, most parents worry about the expense related to braces and orthodontics. However, braces are one of the most useful advances in modern technology. They work wonders in straightening teeth and giving your child a smile they will be proud of. Braces should not be feared or dreaded. They should be embraced for their usefulness in giving your child the gift of a great smile that will last a lifetime.
Orthodontics is a special field of dentistry that deals with the treatment of improper bite and crooked teeth. It consists of treating conditions affecting the teeth and face. One of the most common conditions treated is malocclusion, which is an irregular bite. Bite irregularities can be caused by many things including trauma, prolonged thumb sucking, and premature loss of baby teeth.
Why is having a proper bite important?
It can affect long-term dental health. Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to brush and floss, which reduces tooth decay. A bad bite also makes it difficult to chew food properly leading to lack of nutrition. In some cases speech difficulties can develop as a result of poorly aligned teeth. Back teeth also sustain more wear and tear if the front teeth are uneven. Biting down places a tremendous amount of force on tooth surfaces. Back teeth can wear down more when the front teeth aren't in the proper position.
Braces are important for cosmetic reasons. Unsightly gaps in teeth or crooked teeth cause embarrassment and may lesson a child's self-confidence. The first thing someone notices when speaking to another person is their mouth. A healthy smile makes a lasting impression on others.
Most orthodontic treatment consists of two phases:
- the active phase
- the retention phase
During the active phase, braces or appliances move the teeth into proper position to correct the bite. The retention phase happens later and is useful in holding the teeth in their new positions long term.
Braces are made of metal, different colored ceramic, or plastic materials. Invisalign or ClearCorrect are examples of plastic aligners for moving teeth. Most orthodontic treatment is done with stainless steel types. However, ceramic or plastic is often chosen for appearance. Dr. Vafa can discuss which type of braces are best for your child's individual treatment program.
Are there any risks involved with orthodontic care?
Very few risks are involved with braces and orthodontics, and they are rare. Some patients may have allergies to the metal and latex materials used in appliances. Those who have gum disease are at a greater risk for supporting bone to breakdown, causing loosening of the teeth.
Any concerns or questions about braces and orthodontics can be answered by Dr. Bruce Vafa and his staff. They can discuss costs and other concerns you may have. While braces may be costly, a child's healthy and happy smile is priceless!