It’s no secret, as you age, so does your smile. Teeth wear down as we chew our way through a lifetime of meals. Did you also know, teeth can move and shift well into adulthood? Here’s a roundup of 4 common changes orthodontists see in patients as they age:
1. Bottom teeth crowdingAs you age, your jaw bone loses density and shrinks. The mismatched size of the jaw bone with teeth can lead to crowding of the bottom front teeth. Crowding can also occur because other issues such as breathing through your mouth, reverse swallowing, tongue thrusting or facial trauma.
2. Front teeth gapSpace between two front teeth is referred to as a diastema, and it can develop for a variety of reasons. Crowding of teeth or unproportioned jaws and teeth can cause spacing to gradually occur. Swallowing, with the pressure of your tongue pushing against your front teeth, rather than positioning itself at the roof of your mouth, can also cause teeth to separate over time. Gum disease is another trigger for spacing, because of the inflammation. (more…)
People who are considering orthodontic treatment usually come prepared with great questions when they consult AAO (American Association of Orthodontists) specialists. The question at the top of the list is often which type of appliance to use to correct their orthodontic problem – braces vs clear aligners? How do they decide?
First, keep in mind that there is not a single “right way” for orthodontic treatment to be done. An accurate diagnosis is the starting place, and that’s something that orthodontists are especially well-trained at, after obtaining orthodontic records (x-rays, photos and models). The orthodontist pinpoints the problem, and then crafts a customized correction.
One appliance is not inherently better than another. What is used for an individual’s correction will be based on the goals of treatment, and the patient’s lifestyle needs. Some things, however, apply to all patients, regardless of type of appliance. For example, all patients must brush and floss their teeth daily and will need to wear retainers post-treatment. Now, let’s examine some common treatment factors to consider for both braces and clear aligners.
Most orthodontic problems can be successfully treated using braces. Braces have been the traditional form of treatment used by orthodontists for decades, but today’s streamlined braces come in a variety of models – stainless steel, tooth-colored ceramic and even gold-colored.
While there are more inconspicuous options (tooth colored brackets, braces that go behind the teeth), other elements remain visible (rubber bands, wires or gold colored brackets). You can, however, choose the colors of your rubber bands.
For a stable and functional result, braces remain affixed to the teeth throughout the course of treatment. On the bright side, you can’t lose them, unless you eat hard and sticky foods.
There may be some initial discomfort when braces are placed or adjusted, and brackets and wires can temporarily irritate mouth tissue. Overall, the discomfort is short-lived and easily managed. Once patients become accustomed to their braces, they may even forget they have them on.
Patients will need to keep teeth, gums and braces free of plaque and food debris so bacteria can’t attack tooth enamel or cause inflamed gums. Food debris and plaque must be removed by frequent brushing and flossing.
Those with braces must steer clear of foods that are hard, sticky, crunchy and chewy to avoid breaking a bracket or popping a wire out of the bracket. Patients should opt for water instead of carbonated drinks, flavored waters, or sports drinks – these can contain acids and sugars, and both are bad for tooth enamel.
Clear aligners are plastic replicas of your teeth. Wearing them puts gentle pressure on the teeth, ever-so-slightly repositioning them. Aligners are one of many technological advancements that have made orthodontic treatment less conspicuous and one of the many appliances orthodontists use to move teeth and align jaws.
Aligners are clear, thin, plastic-like trays, making them virtually invisible and allowing an individual to inconspicuously achieve a straight smile. Tooth colored attachments are frequently placed on the teeth to help guide the teeth into place. Aligners are designed to minimize the appearance of the appliance to better fit any lifestyle.
Many patients appreciate that aligners are removable. Take them out to eat, to brush and floss, or for short periods for work or social occasions. The key responsibility is wearing them as prescribed. That typically means a minimum of 22 hours a day and in the correct sequence.
Because they are removable, aligners can be easily lost or damaged. They fall out of pockets and purses and may even get wrapped in a napkin and thrown away.
While there may be some initial discomfort when a patient switches to a new set of aligners, the discomfort can be easily managed. Removing aligners because they are uncomfortable defeats their purpose. Aligners can’t work unless they are in the mouth.
It is critical to avoid drinking soft drinks, flavored waters or sports drinks of any kind with aligners in. Liquids seep into aligners and if they contain acid, sugar, or both, it can rapidly lead to staining of the teeth and extensive decay. Teeth need to be spotless when aligners are placed in the mouth.
The type of appliance used in orthodontic treatment is far less important than the skill in the hands of the person who is providing the treatment. Rely on the skills of the AAO orthodontist, who has the education, experience and expertise to evaluate diagnostic findings, and translate those into a treatment plan that will help you or your child achieve a healthy and beautiful smile.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is open exclusively to orthodontists – only orthodontists are admitted for membership. The only doctors who can call themselves “orthodontists” have graduated from dental school and then successfully completed the additional two-to-three years of education in an accredited orthodontic residency program.
When you choose an AAO orthodontist for orthodontic treatment, you can be assured that you have selected a specialist orthodontist, an expert in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics who possesses the skills and experience to give you your best smile. Locate AAO orthodontists through Find an Orthodontist at aaoinfo.org.← back to the blog
For More Information, Contact:
Dr Connell Orthodontics, (262) 786-7886
COLORFUL BRACES MAKE MORE THAN FASHION STATEMENT
Brookfield, WI — For orthodontic patients who choose to make fashion statements with their mouths, colors are really heating up. From soft pastels that coordinate with a wardrobe to bright hues for celebrating holidays or expressing school spirit, the colors appear on the elastic ties that bind the wires to the brackets. These ties can be changed when the wires are changed.
Enthusiastic patients are more apt to follow instructions on oral hygiene and diet. Good cooperation can yield results that meet everyone’s expectations.
When patients are involved in their treatment, they may take better care of their braces. That helps patient and doctor to reach treatment goals and produce a healthy, beautiful smile.
Patients can celebrate every time they smile, year-round: red and white for Valentine’s Day; green for St. Patrick’s Day; red, white and blue for July 4; orange and black for Halloween; green and red for Christmas—or blue and white for Chanukah, or black, red and green for Kwanzaa.
Adults, too, are known to choose different colors when they have their braces adjusted. For a sports fanatic, it’s a unique way to express loyalty to college or pro teams.
Some patients prefer to be less obvious about their orthodontic treatment. They have a variety of options including tooth-colored brackets; self-ligating brackets, which do not require ties to join the wire to the bracket; braces that go behind the teeth; or clear removable trays.
Thanks to today’s technology, the materials we orthodontists use to move teeth can range from obvious to almost imperceptible.
For more information, visit Dr. Todd Connell's website, www.drtoddsmiles.com, or call (262) 786-7886. Find Dr. Connel on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/toddconnellorthodontics / and/or on Twitter at @drtddsmiles1 .
Dr. Connell graduated from Marquette Dental School and holds a Masters Degree from Marquette Orthodontic Program.
Dr. Connell is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), which has 19,000 members in the United States, Canada and abroad. Orthodontists are uniquely qualified specialists who correct improperly aligned teeth and jaws (bad bites). They receive an additional two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth. Only those with this formal education may call themselves “orthodontists,” and only orthodontists are eligible for membership in the AAO. Visit the AAO at www.aaoinfo.org.