What are the causes of orthodontic problems?
Most orthodontic problems (malocclusions) are inherited.
Examples of genetic problems are crowding, spacing, dental protrusion, missing teeth, supernumerary teeth, and some jaw growth problems.
Some other malocclusions are acquired, as a result of finger-sucking, dental diseases, traumas, early or late loss of baby teeth, other causes.
When children should have their first orthodontic check-up?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends all children get a check-up with an Orthodontist at the first recognition of an orthodontic problem, in any case no later than age 7. By this age, the child has enough permanent teeth for the Orthodontist to establish if an orthodontic problem exists or is developing.
Problems to detect early in children
In addition, parents should check with the Orthodontist if the child presents:
- early or late loss of baby teeth
- speech problems
- mouth breathing
- clicking joints
- facial imbalance
- grinding or clenching
Can adults undergo orthodontic treatment?
Yes. Adulthood is not a contraindication to orthodontic treatment. Teeth can be moved at any age, provided that they are healthy.
What diagnostic exams are requested preliminarily to orthodontic treatment?
MEDICAL AND DENTAL HISTORY, CLINICAL EXAM
PHOTOGRAPHS OF FACE AND PROFILE
PLASTER MODELS OF THE DENTAL ARCHES
CEPHALOMETRIC TRACING OF THE LATERAL SKULL RADIOGRAPHY to evaluate dento-skeletal relationships and growth tendency
What actions should the patient refrain from to avoid damaging the orthodontic appliance?
- Eating crunchy and sticky food
- Biting on ice cubes
- Chewing on pens or pencils
- Biting into whole apples
How long does orthodontic treatment take?
The duration of orthodontic treatment can range from 1 to 3 years, with an average of 2 years. When ‘active’ treatment is completed, retainers are given to the patients to keep the teeth in their new positions.
Why are retainers important?
Retainers hold the teeth in their new positions after completion of the ‘active’ orthodontic treatment. Retainers can be removable or fixed (i.e bonded behind the teeth).
They are needed because the bone has to reorganize around the teeth after orthodontic movement.
It is a fact that throughout lifetime, even after orthodontic treatment, changes in tooth position can be expected. Such changes vary from individual to individual and most often are hardly noticeable.
In any case, wearing the retainers as instructed by the Orthodontist is essential to maintain the result of the orthodontic treatment.
How long should retainers be worn?
It is usually recommended to wear the retainers 24 hours for the first 6 months after the end of ‘active’ treatment, with subsequent wear time reduced to night-time only.
Many people wear removable retainers at night for the rest of their lives.
How much does Orthodontic Treatment cost?
The cost of orthodontics depends on several factors, such as the severity of the problem and the length of treatment.
Before starting treatment, the Orthodontist provides the patient a prediction of duration and cost of treatment.