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Orthodontics in Philadelphia, PA
Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry concerned with alignment of the teeth and to improve appearance. Orthodontics is devoted to building beautiful smiles by bringing teeth, lips, and jaws into proper alignment. Straight teeth function better, are easier to clean, and are more likely to last your lifetime.
Braces for Children
Although patients of any age can benefit from orthodontic braces, they tend to work much quicker on pre-teens and teenagers since they are still experiencing jaw growth. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children should first see an orthodontist around the age of seven years-old. An orthodontic examination may be beneficial before age seven if facial or oral irregularities are noted.
Causes of Teeth Misalignment
Poorly aligned teeth often cause problems speaking, biting and chewing. Most irregularities are genetic or occur as a result of developmental issues. Conversely, some irregularities are acquired or greatly exacerbated by certain habits and behaviors such as:
- Mouth breathing
- Thumb or finger sucking
- Prolonged pacifier use
- Poor oral hygiene
- Poor nutrition
Braces for Adults
Today, an increasing number of adults are choosing to wear braces to straighten their teeth and correct malocclusions (bad bites). In fact, it is now estimated that almost one third of all current orthodontic patients are adults.
Orthodontic braces are predictable, versatile and incredibly successful at realigning the teeth. Braces work in the same way regardless of the age of the patient, but the treatment time is greatly reduced in patients who are still experiencing jaw growth and have not been affected by gum disease. In short, an adult can experience the same beautiful end results as a teenager, but treatment often takes longer.
How Orthodontic Treatment Works
Braces consist of bands, wires and/or brackets. Bands are fixed around the teeth or tooth and used as anchors for the appliance, while brackets are bonded to the front of the tooth. Arch wires are passed through the brackets and attached to the bands. Tightening the arch wire puts tension on the teeth, gradually moving them to their proper position. Braces are usually adjusted monthly to bring about the desired results, which may be achieved within a few months to a few years. Today’s braces are smaller, lighter and show far less metal than in the past.
We usually recommend braces to improve the patient’s:
- crooked teeth
- crowded teeth
- uneven spacing
- Undesirable gaps between teeth
- Protruded teeth and/or jaw
- Lack of symmetry of the face
- TMJ symptoms
- Breathing problems
When children and teenagers are treated, we plan the final outcome to be one of great stability. Many of our patients undergo treatment without the need of extractions, providing a beautiful smile, versus one that is collapsed as seen in treatments done in past decades. This allows for their jaw to have great balance and avoids locking of their jaw. This, in the long run, avoids the occurrence of TMJ problems.
Orthodontics can do so much more that just straighten your teeth. It can help in the treatment of headaches and TMJ problems. Both of these are mainly due to bite irregularities and severe wear, causing many of the muscles of the head to overwork themselves. The consequence is the onset of headache symptoms. Many patients contact us as a last resort to address their problems. As the patient’s bite is reorganized into the right position, muscle strain is alleviated, therefore correcting the source of the headaches.