Orthodontics Awareness Month: How Orthodontic Treatment Can Help You

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October brings images of ghosts, ghouls, and goblins for kids, but for adults, it marks National Orthodontic Health Month. Orthodontists nationwide, including us, take this opportunity to raise awareness about the advantages of straight teeth and a properly aligned bite.

Orthodontic Fun Facts

  • There are around four million people in the U.S. using orthodontic appliances, and 25% of these individuals are adults, frequently in their 50s, 60s, and 70s.
  • NASA developed the wires used for braces (using nickel-titanium for the space program), which are thin, elastic, and flexible, and these wires use body heat to keep their shape on the teeth.
  • Braces have been in existence for nearly 300 years since Pierre Fauchard (the Father of Dentistry) designed them in 1728, using flat metal material connected to the teeth with a thread. Later on, dentist Edward Angle established more advanced and modern orthodontic hardware, including brackets, to straighten teeth and correct misaligned bites.
  • Based on an archaeologist who studied mummies, ancient Egyptians attempted to straighten their teeth by using cords made from animal intestines to imitate wires (gross, right?).
  • Orthodontic devices such as braces straighten teeth, but retainers maintain their alignment after the device is removed. Failing to wear the retainer after treatment often results in needing orthodontic treatment again.

Today’s Treatment Options

Crooked teeth that don’t fit together properly are harder to clean, making them more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. People straighten their teeth for various reasons, primarily for aesthetics (who doesn’t appreciate an aligned smile?) but also to correct a misaligned bite like an overbite. This is important because an aligned bite makes it easier to bite, chew, and speak. For decades, this has meant wearing traditional braces, but today’s orthodontic patients have more options!

  • Traditional metal braces: Braces employ wires, brackets, and elastic bands positioned on the frontal aspect of the teeth to rectify alignment problems.
  • Clear braces: These are similar to traditional braces but use clear ceramic brackets to straighten teeth.
  • Lingual braces: These orthodontic appliances feature brackets and wires affixed to the rear surface of the teeth rather than the front.
  • Clear aligners: Typically, plastic trays like Invisalign® or ClearCorrect™ worn over the teeth to slowly change them into the desired place.

Not Just A Pretty Smile

Straight teeth offer benefits beyond oral health. Having a beautiful smile makes you feel good about yourself, boosting your confidence, which is beneficial for your psychological health!

Aligned teeth also help you bite and chew food properly, which prevents digestive problems. Additional health benefits include alleviating pain associated with headaches, bruxism (repetitive teeth grinding), and jaw issues like TMJ.

Chronic teeth grinding and jaw clenching disturb a good night’s sleep and can make sleep apnea symptoms worse. Orthodontics can also relieve sinus issues by opening up narrow airways. Clearly, orthodontics offers benefits beyond simply enhancing your smile!

Creating awareness during National Orthodontic Health Month is crucial because orthodontic treatment can improve your mouth and overall health, preventing future health issues. To learn more about how orthodontic treatment can benefit you, please reach out to our team today!