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February 25 2011

Family Dental Services Explain Orthodontic Options

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We’ve advanced significantly since the days of teens with braces being called “metal mouth,” and constant struggles to change teeny tiny rubber bands with not so tiny fingers. Today’s orthodontics (from the Greek, orthos, meaning “straight or proper,” and odous, or “tooth”) offer many more alternatives for patients of all ages. Family dental services can be your guide to exploring what is the best treatment for you or your child.

Lots of myths have cropped up around orthodontics. Here are some:

* Myth: Braces are for kids. Fact: In actually one in five patients are adults

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* Myth: Braces are magnets or can be little radio stations. Fact: Even the old-school metal braces aren’t made from magnetic materials and so far no one has been capable of download iTunes to their personal appliances.

* Myth: Braces are painful and it takes years to complete the job. Fact: After a preliminary adjustment period similar to breaking in new shoes, braces are comfortable. Pain free dentistry is a goal for most practioners and certainly for their patients! Also, modern technology has made most courses of treatment much shorter.

* Myth: Braces are hideous and can look unprofessional for adults Fact: Various tooth colored or clear brackets, such as the Invisaligns, make braces pretty low profile. There’s also “linqual” versions that are connected to the back of your teeth.

The notion that braces are for children has pretty much gone by the wayside, and most agree it’s never too late to improve on what nature has given you. Orthodontists do suggest that children between 7 and 8 be given an exam to determine whether some early intervention is necessary. If the dental arch is too small to support permanent teeth at a later date, or the jaw is growing improperly, treatment at this age can modify these structures.

If braces are essential in adolescence to complete the job, the duration and cost of that phase will be less than if the earlier work was not done.

With some specialized training, a general dentist can identify and treat some issues with the alignment of the teeth or jaw. These malocclusions, or bad bites, can be a result of genetics or acquired after birth through accidents, loss of baby teeth too soon or too late or even thumb sucking that is carried on into the toddler years. Your family dentist can also manage the clear bracing process, which starts with 3D images to design these custom appliances. If early childhood jaw modification has been performed, some general dentists could also handle adolescent or adult orthodontia.

Today’s braces aren’t the railroad “tracks” of yesteryear, but your family dentist will help you get on the right treatment track to good dental and jaw health.

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