School is out, and that means all things summer. Vacations, sports camps, cookouts and starting orthodontic treatment. Wait, what?
That’s right! Summer is the ideal time to start orthodontic treatment. In this blog, we’ll give you four reasons why you should start the process of building a beautiful smile this summer.
What Are Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis, prevention and correction of malocclusion (bad bite). Malocclusion can be defined as an abnormal relationship between your teeth or jaws. This could include a wide variety of issues such as:
Tooth crowding. When two or more teeth are crowded together, they rub against one another, which can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even damage to permanent teeth.
Overbite. Overbites occur when the upper front teeth come too far forward over the lower teeth. The result is often a gap between the top and bottom teeth.
Underbite. Underbites occur when the lower front teeth come too far back under the upper teeth. The result is usually a gap between the top teeth and the bottom jaw bone.
Crossbite. Crossbites occur when the inside of the mouth has different alignment than the outside. It’s like having crooked teeth on both sides of your mouth at once.
Open bite. Open bites occur when the lips don’t meet properly. This condition looks similar to crossbites but there is no space between the upper and lower teeth.
The most common reason people seek orthodontic care is because their teeth aren’t aligned correctly.
Orthodontics can also help correct jaw problems, including:
Jaw misalignment. Jaw misalignments happen when the bones of the face don’t line up straight. This causes the teeth to shift into awkward positions.
Tongue thrust. Tongue thrust occurs when the tongue pushes down on the lower jaw, causing it to tilt forward. This can make eating difficult and can affect speech.
Tongue tie. A tongue tie is a small piece of tissue that connects the base of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. If the tongue tie isn’t removed, it can restrict tongue movement and cause breathing difficulties.
All of these situations can cause health concerns, including:
TMJ disorders. TMJ disorders can cause joint pain and clicking sounds in the jaw.
Airway issues. An open bite can interfere with proper airflow through the nose and throat.
Sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing while sleeping. These pauses can last anywhere from 10 seconds to several minutes. People who suffer from sleep apnea often experience daytime drowsiness and fatigue.
In addition to correcting dental issues, orthodontics can improve overall facial appearance. Your smile will appear straighter, brighter and healthier. You’ll feel better about yourself and others will notice your increased confidence!
Steps to Orthodontic Treatment
The first step in any orthodontic procedure is to have an oral exam. It’s important to get a complete dental examination before beginning any orthodontic procedures. You should have X-rays taken of your jaw structure, including the upper and lower jaws, teeth, gums, and soft tissue. Once we know where the problem areas are, we can determine how much tooth movement is needed.
Once the oral exam has been completed, we will discuss your options with you. There are many different types of braces available today. Some people prefer metal braces while others may choose clear aligners. Both methods work well and have their own advantages and disadvantages. After discussing your options, we will recommend which method would be the most appropriate for you.
If you decide on clear aligners, then you will need to make sure you wear them every day. Clear aligners are removable and fit like a retainer. They come in sets of either six or 12 weeks depending on the brand. Each set consists of two aligners per week. These aligners are made of plastic and are designed to gradually move your teeth into place by applying gentle pressure.
Clear aligners are great if you want to avoid wires and brackets and align your teeth discreetly.
Summertime Is Great for Orthodontics
So, why is summer a great time to start orthodontic treatment?
- The most obvious reason: Summer break is the best time to have braces because it has less stress, a lighter schedule and fewer obligations to work around. It also means no interruptions in the school day for orthodontic appointments.
- There’s no time like the present. Starting now means you can get your treatment underway, which means you’ll see the smile of your dreams sooner than later.
- Growing kids. Did you know that children tend to grow more in the summer than other times of the year? That makes it easier for us to monitor growth and adjust as necessary. You will likely also notice faster results as growth happens. It’s also important to start soon because jaw growth in children generally stops around age 8.
- Learning curve. The summer is a great time to start orthodontics because it can give your child extra time to learn how to care for their appliance or navigate how to brush around braces. Establishing a good oral hygiene routine for orthodontics is critical for your oral health and overall health.
The bottom line is, if you or your child need orthodontic treatment, the perfect time to call for an orthodontic consultation and ask about the treatment process is now. Let’s talk now about your orthodontic evaluation.