There are currently four million people in America under orthodontic care of some sort. Many still think of orthodontists as people that put metal braces on teenagers teeth to straighten them out. In reality, the field of orthodontics is much more diverse and all-encompassing than that. Orthodontists are educated and skilled to deal with teeth and facial development. They are able to treat and, in some cases, prevent more serious problems from surfacing.
There are several dental conditions that can be fixed with the use of orthodontics. It is a good idea to have a grasp on some of the different services orthodontists perform. Orthodontists are no longer suggesting you wait until there is a problem, but rather visit them early on. Certain conditions are much more easily treated when patients are younger. Orthodontists can even manipulate the jaw in ways that encourage adult teeth to grow in along a good pattern and with proper spacing.
Occlusion refers to how teeth line up and fit in the mouth. Malocclusion occurs when teeth do not line up properly, resulting in overbite, under bite, cross bite, open bite, or a misplaced midline. These misalignment issues may result in more serious problems such as discomfort or difficulty when chewing or biting, speech problems, or alteration in the bone structure of the jaw and face. Often people with a significant malocclusion will complain of regularly biting the inside of their mouth or tongue. Orthodontists can repair an alignment issue with braces, surgery, or reshaping of the teeth.
Spacing irregularities are responsible for various dental ailments. Large gaps in teeth, whether inherited or as a result of a tooth loss, leave gums exposed and more susceptible to gum injury and disease. An overcrowded mouth can result in crooked, difficult-to-clean teeth. This difficulty, in turn, leads to the development of cavities. The most common treatment for spacing irregularities is braces. There are various options available, ranging from the more known and traditional metal braces and wires to Invisalign trays.
Brusixm, or teeth clenching and grinding, is a relatively common problem. It is most prevalent when teeth are growing in, both with baby and adult teeth. It is typically unintentional and happens during the night, while asleep. The problem is that persistent teeth grinding can lead to enamel damage and uneven pressure points in the mouth. Uneven wear and undue pressure in certain areas can lead to discomfort and injury. Orthodontists like Dr. Nate Lewis are able to manipulate the jaw and encourage teeth to grow in such a way as to eliminate teeth grinding.
Protrusion of the teeth occurs when the upper jaw thrusts particularly far forward, and the lower jaw does not protrude far enough. In severe cases, it may even be impossible to close your lips. Protrusion affects the formation of facial and jaw bones and can put dangerous amounts of pressure on the teeth that do touch. Left untreated, protruding teeth can actually lead to bone loss in the jaw. Orthodontists can often correct protrusions with braces, but sometimes have to recommend tooth extraction when the problem is too significant.
If you are suffering from any of these issues, seek the advice of an orthodontist you trust. Many people shy away from visiting an orthodontist because they are afraid of the cost or the discomfort associated with braces. Orthodontics has changed drastically over the years, and there are new methods and techniques that increase results and decrease discomfort. Orthodontists are able to treat both functional and cosmetic issues. Your confidence, comfort, and dental health are worth the investment!