There are three main reasons people consider orthodontic treatment to straighten their teeth. The first and perhaps the most important reason is functional concerns.
This is because sometimes teeth come through into the wrong positions and this can cause interference to the way the teeth and jaws work. Sometimes teeth become impacted or stuck inside the jaw. These impactions can in simple cases make teeth hard to clean, predispose to decay and gum problems. In more serious cases the action can lead to damage to the adjacent teeth.
Other functional problems include crossbites, where the tooth position is reversed from its correct location. These can lead to problems in chewing comfortably and also lead to abnormal wear or chipped teeth. Sometimes poor bite relationships can also make chewing and other activities uncomfortable and in some case predispose to jaw joint problems. All of these sorts of problems are assessed by your dentist. If there are functional problems in the bite your dentist will be able to detect these and advise you to seek treatment. For some problems dentist provide this treatment and for more complex problems they will often refer patients to dental specialists such as the orthodontist. Most of these problems however, can be assessed without a dental referral, through a consultation with your orthodontist.
The second reason people often seek orthodontic treatment is for improvement in appearance. While indices have been created to try to evaluate the relative straightness of teeth, ultimately appearance is a personal thing and basically if you don’t like the way your teeth look often having them straighter will make them look nicer. The benefit of orthodontic treatment then really depends on whether you like your teeth the way they are or not. If you really hate your teeth then orthodontics may have great benefit for you.
This leads me to the third main reason people straighten their teeth and that is for self esteem reasons. Many people talk about how they feel more confident in social settings or indeed in business environment if they have very well aligned teeth and a beautiful smile. Some people even go as far as to claim that this self confidence helps them to succeed in the world or that they become a happier "more smiley" person.
Over the years the demand for orthodontics has greatly increased and this is probably for a few reasons; firstly the desire to have more perfect appearance in the face than in other areas of the body has become popularised in the press and has perhaps become part of our culture. While I agree that we should not become obsessed with perfection I believe that a happy, healthy and confident smile is a true benefit for life. Research has also shown indications that a confident smile can improve people’s career opportunities.
The second reason orthodontics has become more common is that availability has greatly improved over the last 20 or so years. Many years ago you would have to travel to Brisbane to have orthodontic treatment and then there were only a couple of orthodontists available. The costs of orthodontics, while still not insignificant is relatively less expensive than they used to be many years ago. The third reason orthodontics has become more popular is that procedures themselves are more pleasant that they used to be. More cases can be treated without the removal of teeth. The appliances (brackets) are smaller and smoother than they ever used to be. The days of the old "railroad tracks" are virtually gone.
In addition other forms of treatment such as sequential plastic aligners, such as Invisalign, are available and are becoming more sophisticated and successful.
For all of these reasons orthodontics has become a happy and healthy experience. To discover more about our range of orthodontic treatments, or to book an appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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