The duration of the orthodontic treatment is determined by different factors, such as: the severity of the malocclusion, the body’s response and most importantly, the commitment of the patient with their orthodontic treatment and oral hygiene.
Usually, the orthodontic treatment takes from two to two and a half years to complete. When there are complex cases or when instructions are not followed, it could take more time.
There are two essential types of orthodontic treatments, which are: Interceptive orthodontics and corrective orthodontics.
- Interceptive orthodontics is indicated when the patient still has mixed dentition (when temporary and permanent teeth coexist) and the objective is to induce a correct dental replacement, preparing the jaws for it. This should be done when the patient’s 8 years old.
- Corrective orthodontics should begin at age 12, since this is when the child has all the permanent teeth.
Depending on the difficulty of each case, an orthodontic treatment could last between two to two and a half years. With the advances and new self-ligating techniques, the treatment duration time has been considerably reduced, some of them resulting in 1-year treatments.
It is ideal to schedule the first visit when the primary dentition (temporary teeth) have finished their appearance in the mouth, which happens around 3 years old. Many permanent dentition problems can be predicted since this very young age.
There is not a general established age to start an orthodontic treatment. The age to initiate it will be determined by the clinician and the decision will depend on the problem or discrepancy the patient has. Determining the ideal time is one of the most important decisions that the orthodontist should take, this is also called Treatment Opportunity and most of its success depends on it.
Of course, there are moments of mixed dentition (temporary and permanent teeth coexisting) that don’t seem quite well, but they are completely normal. Periodical visits and examinations will allow the clinician to determine whether these changes are being corrected throughout time or if they need any intervention.
It is difficult to predict how the lack of orthodontic treatments will affect life. Certainly a child who needs treatment and does not receive it will have problems with their teeth in the future. The possible consequences of not having orthodontic treatment could be:
- Loss of teeth’s enamel because of uneven alignment of the teeth.
- Difficulty to clean teeth, leading to gum issues.
- Difficulty when chewing.
- Periodontal (gum and bone) problems in adulthood.
There are several causes for dental malpositions. Some alterations are inherited, while others are acquired. To identify which applies for each case, a proper diagnosis by a trained professional is always required. Some of the alterations are:
- Tooth crowding
- Gaps between teeth.
- Deep bite
- Protrusion of Upper Teeth (excessive horizontal overlap between top and bottom teeth).
- Supernumerary teeth (extra teeth)
- Tooth agenesis (missing teeth)
Some causes for the acquired alterations are:
- Dental trauma
- Habits (for example, Thumb Sucking can lead to an open bite).
- Respiratory obstructions (can generate crossbites).
In the first place, the Orthodontist will carry out a clinical examination of the patient where he will carefully check the orofacial structures, including the mouth. A medical record will be filled out, where the clinician will establish the presence or absence of cavities, the gums characteristics, patient’s oral hygiene, and all surrounding soft tissues (for example, lips and cheeks).
The way the patient breathes and swallows will also be recorded, as well as their posture. After this examination and observations, a series of questions regarding the overall health of the patient will be asked, since many systemic diseases have a clear impact on oral health.
It is always important to take X-rays, photographs and models to establish an accurate diagnosis.
No, Orthodontics and Orthopedics seek to achieve a mechanical and physiological harmonization of the jaw, bones and surrounding structures, looking for a well functioning of the whole system.
Yes, it is totally possible. It has also been demonstrated that sometimes braces protect teeth, depending on the type of trauma received when practicing sports.
It is actually very common, it is even more common nowadays because teens and adults are worrying more about their oral health.
Absolutely yes, some instructions and recommendations should be followed but all daily activities can be carried out without a problem. Even those activities which involve instrument playing.
The most common complication during the treatment is discomfort while all the structures in the mouth adapt to the devices. There can be lacerations in oral mucosa, sensitivity while chewing and loose teeth sensation after activations.
Yes, there is currently a wide variety of aesthetic braces, which are transparent and hence, not very visible. There are also treatments for small malpositions or misalignments with invisible trays so there’s no need to wear metal appliances while the smile and discrepancies are corrected.
- Patients with Orthodontics should not chew gum or eat any sticky food, since cleaning these while having fixed appliances is difficult and can cause stains and cavities on the teeth.
- Eating fruits is allowed, but preferably chopped in small pieces.
- Avoid extremely hard foods such as: peanuts, ice, very roasted foods and popcorn.
- If the patient consumes dark drinks such as tea, red wine and coffee, they should brush their teeth immediately after consumption since these types of drinks can cause stains and damage enamel irreversibly.