Braces are the most common type of orthodontic treatment. They have been used for centuries to straighten teeth and align bite patterns. Braces technology has evolved over time to be more effective and more comfortable, but the method is essentially the same.
The majority of people will need orthodontic treatment of some kind. It is rare for a person’s teeth to come in perfectly straight. With what we have learned over the years about dental health, orthodontic care is more important than ever.
Are you wondering if you or your child needs braces? Here’s how you can get a general idea.
What Are Braces?
Traditional braces are made of metal and consist of a combination of brackets and wires. Brackets are the small, square-shaped pieces that attach to the front side of each tooth. The archwire connects all of the brackets to shift the teeth into proper alignment. Additional wires, rubber bands, and orthodontic mechanisms may be used to achieve the necessary results.
Signs You May Need Braces
A person who needs braces may have any of the following signs:
- Crooked teeth. Teeth that are crooked are at a higher risk of damage.
- Crowded or overlapping teeth. Teeth that are crowded together or overlapping are difficult to keep clean.
- Teeth that appear worn down or uneven. Worn down or uneven teeth are a sign that the upper and lower teeth don’t meet together properly.
- Gaps between the teeth. Gaps between the teeth result from improper alignment of the teeth and bite.
- Mouth breathing While you sleep or during the day. This can be a sign you do not have enough space for your tongue.
- Jaw pain. Improper bite patterns can put strain on your jaw, causing pain and possible TMJ disorder.
- Bite problems such as open bite, underbite, or crossbite. These incorrect bite patterns can cause damage to the teeth and jaw over time. Overbite is also a problem but it is more common and less noticeable.
- Baby teeth that stay in place too long. When baby teeth are not shed by the appropriate age, it indicates that orthodontic treatment may be necessary.
When Should I Schedule an Orthodontic Evaluation?
If you think you or your child has orthodontic concerns, schedule an orthodontic evaluation. Even if you’re not sure if there are any problems, every child should have an orthodontic evaluation by the age of 7. The first evaluation will determine if any early treatment is necessary or if it will be needed in the future.
Adults can also undergo orthodontic treatment for improved dental health and a better looking smile. An orthodontic evaluation can be done at any age to determine if treatment is needed and what treatment option is best to help you achieve the desired results.
If I Need Braces, How Long Does Treatment Take?
Braces treatment typically takes an average of 1-3 years. Adult treatment often takes longer than it does for children and teenagers because the teeth are more set in place. Children and teens are still growing, which makes it easier to shift the teeth and adjust the shape of the jaw.
Are There Alternative Treatments to Braces?
Some patients may qualify for Invisalign, which is an alternative orthodontic treatment. Invisalign is a discrete option with clear, removable aligners that straighten the teeth. Patients with mild to moderate orthodontic needs may qualify for Invisalign, but some orthodontic cases will require braces to achieve the necessary results.
Schedule Your Evaluation Today
Demko Orthodontics provides comprehensive orthodontic treatment for patients of all ages. Services include braces, Invisalign, and more.
Contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment at one of our three convenient locations.