As school bells are ringing and all of our beloved progenies scamper back into daily routines of classrooms and lessons, we parents deserve a pat on the back and a chance to reward ourselves for accomplishing a seamless sendoff. With the new school year, and maybe a little extra time in our days, this could be the opportunity to focus on dental care that may have been neglected or delayed, specifically one that I see parents to often defer: orthodontics.
When it comes to adult orthodontics, there are many misconceptions regarding the treatment of orthodontics. One particular is that orthodontic treatment is for the young or a once in a lifet ime necessity. The reality is that our teeth constantly move throughout our life. Our jaws and other supporting tooth structures constantly grow and remodel throughout life, and unless retainers are constantly employed, the results can lead to cases of lower tooth crowding or upper tooth spacing.
Another misconception is that orthodontics is esthetic only, but health is often beauty. Teeth are designed to function according to their proper placement. Improper biting forces can result in excessive wear of teeth or a breakdown of enamel along the gumline known as an “abfraction”. In addition, excessive crowding or improper tooth contact can create areas of plaque retention that can lead to decay or gum disease. Consequently, correctly positioned teeth will function with longevity and are easier to clean.
Advances in orthodontic treatment also allow for faster and more esthetic treatment for adults. Digital impressions and design can help avoid any potential delays. Bracket types can be utilized that will expedite the process and minimize appointments, and clear brackets help if appearance is a concern. The use of clear trays for orthodontic movements, like those used in Invisalign®, are a great treatment for adults that allow for flexibility and comfort, and their transparency allows for improved esthetics.
No matter the reason, it is never too late or too unimportant to treat your dental orthodontic concerns as an adult. Your dentist or orthodontist will be more than happy to address your orthodontic needs. The treatment time and effort is worth the lifetime of a healthy and beautiful smile. Happy smiling!