When you think of braces, what normally comes to mind?  Teenagers?  Straightening crooked teeth?  Getting a Hollywood Smile?  These are all cases when braces are used but nowadays there are many more reasons why you should have orthodontic treatment to make your smile the best it can be.

More and more adults are considering orthodontic treatment in conjunction with other dental treatment.  Have you recently had a root canal?  Maybe your dentist does not have enough tooth on which to put a crown.  The orthodontist can pull the tooth into the arch giving the dentist more tooth with which to work.  Or have you broken the tooth off at the bone line?  Did you know by orthodontically pulling on the tooth we can create a perfect spot for an implant.

Sometimes the opposite is the case, when a tooth is super-erupted.  This means it has come out too much.  Perhaps it is because the opposing tooth has not yet erupted or is missing.  In either case your orthodontist can help reposition the over-erupted tooth.  This is called intrusion.  Your orthodontist may use braces, magnets, or even little tiny screws (not painful) placed into the bone to correct the problem.

Missing teeth are another reason to see your orthodontist.  Sometimes your dentist will want to do an implant, but you do not have enough bone in the area to support an implant.  In selected cases we have been able to recreate sufficient bone with orthodontic movements so that your implant treatment can proceed.  Another common problem preventing implant placement is mal-aligned roots.  When this is the case the dentist or surgeon may not have a good site in which to place the implant.  With braces we can correct this.  Or maybe you would prefer to close the space left by the missing tooth, rather than placing a bridge or an implant.  Again, braces to the rescue.

The opposite problem can also be treated with orthodontics.  You may have space, but not enough room for a permanent tooth to come in.  This is most commonly seen with the upper eye-teeth or canines.  With braces this can be treated. 

Some of the more common problems treated by an orthodontist are jaw discrepancies and asymmetries.  Maybe your upper jaw is too small?  Or the lower too big?  Or too small?  Or maybe one or both jaws grew more on one side than the other. Many treatment possibilities exist for these conditions using orthodontics.

Additionally, untreated tooth and jaw alignment problems can contribute to other problems.  Overcrowded teeth can contribute to periodontal (gum and bone) problems; an unstable bite due to jaw or tooth mal-alignment can lead to joint or muscle problems.

Orthodontists commonly work with other dentists to find the best consolidated approach to your problem.  And while people most often associate braces with teenagers, orthodontists treat all ages, from 6 years to 60, or even 70 or 80.   Removable or fixed; braces or Invisalign … so many possibilities.

More and more often adults want to improve their smile, straighten their teeth, close gaps or unravel crowded teeth.  It is not uncommon for adults to come in with their children and decide to have treatment themselves.  So if your teeth or jaws are not properly aligned you might consider an orthodontic consult to see what alternatives are available to you.

Smilefocus Dentist - Dr Reuben How (BDS Otago)





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