Why are braces important? Aesthetics are the top priority for most patients. Everyone wants a beautiful smile. And, after undergoing treatment with Dr. Chang, you will have a bright smile you can be proud to share.
But what many people don't consider is the functional aspect of orthodontics — how your teeth and jawbones work. Dr. Chang considers that to be just as important, if not more so, than your smile. So, not only will he make your teeth look beautiful, but he will also achieve the best bite possible to ensure a healthy mouth and teeth long after you're finished wearing braces.
A beautiful new smile is the most tangible result of orthodontic treatment, but the lifelong benefits of healthy teeth and proper jaw alignment are just as important. Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. Tooth decay, gum disease and even tooth loss can result without proper treatment. Other orthodontic problems can contribute to abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, inefficient chewing function, excessive stress on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth, or misalignment of the jaw joints. These can cause chronic headaches and face or neck pain. The treatment provided by Dr. Chang can be less costly than the additional care required to address dental problems arising from untreated orthodontic problems.
Braces for All Ages
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age, and adults especially appreciate the benefits of an improved smile. In fact, one of every five patients in orthodontic treatment is over 21. Jaw surgery is more often required for adult orthodontic patients because their jaws are not growing. Adults also may have experienced some breakdown or loss of their teeth, and bone that supports the teeth, and may require periodontal treatment before, during, and/or, after orthodontic treatment. Bone loss can also limit the amount and direction of tooth movement that is advisable. Nonetheless, our adult patients still find the end result particularly rewarding.
We like to see children by age 7 to determine if orthodontic treatment is necessary and the best time to begin. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually grown in and crossbites, crowding and other problems are already evident. When Dr. Chang starts treatment early, he can guide the growth of the jaw and incoming permanent teeth. Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, make room for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, starting treatment early can make things easier for the child.
How Does Orthodontic Treatment Work?
Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, ceramic or plastic. They may be removable or be bonded to the teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces slowly move teeth to a new, fixed position. Now is a great time to wear braces! Gone are the days when a metal band with a bracket was placed around each tooth. You can choose brackets that are clear or metallic color. You can choose the color of the ties that hold the wire in brackets. Wires are also less noticeable than they used to be and the latest materials move teeth faster with less discomfort to patients.
How Long Will I Wear My Braces?
Most patients have their braces on between one and three years, depending on the growth of their mouths and faces and the complexity of the treatment needed.
Patients grow at different rates and individual responses to orthodontic treatment vary, so the treatment time may last more or less time than originally estimated. Your consistent use of any prescribed rubber bands or headgear is an important factor in achieving the most efficient treatment possible.