Hard to Resist, Tougher to Avoid — and Devastating to Our Health
Do you enjoy the taste of sweet things?
We all do, to some degree. In fact, it’s evolutionary. A sweet tooth served our hunting-and-gathering ancestors well. They knew that if they ate something sweet, it wouldn’t kill them; nothing in nature that tastes sweet is acutely poisonous. It’s ironic, because in the amounts we currently consume it, sugar is a chronic toxin and it is killing us — slowly. I’m not being overly dramatic here; I’m simply stating what scientific research, my own included, has made impossible to ignore.
We are in the midst of a nationwide health crisis, with implications for both dentistry and medicine. Dentists are seeing an increase in tooth decay — despite the addition of tooth-strengthening fluoride to most municipal water supplies. Physicians like myself are seeing many more obese children — some as young as six months old! Thirty years ago, 1 child out of 20 was obese. Today, it’s 1 in 5. Thirty years ago, there were zero children in America with type 2 diabetes. Today, there are 57,000.
When is it the right time to use implants to replace missing teeth in a teenager?
My daughter is 15 years old and is just finishing wearing braces. She is missing two of her upper front teeth which never developed. The orthodontist made space to have them replaced, but now we’re told she has to wait 2 to 3 more years before she can have implants. She desperately wants her teeth replaced. Why can’t implants be done now?
This is an important question and the current wisdom is not to have implants placed until jaw and facial growth are complete. Although it varies from person to person, growth of the jaws in most cases is not complete until late teens. Of course, we are faced with the dilemma of waiting for the optimal time to place implants so that they will succeed on the one hand, and respecting the psychological needs of a teenager missing front teeth on the other.
You’re Never Too Old To Straighten Your Teeth
I would like to fix my crooked teeth, but I just turned 60. Is it too late for me to get braces?
Healthy teeth can be moved at any age, so there’s no such thing as “too old” for braces. In fact, nowadays about one out of every five orthodontic patients is an adult. Yet this figure represents only a small portion of adults who could actually benefit from orthodontic treatment.
Research has shown that the frequency of malocclusion (“mal” – bad; “occlusion” – bite) in adults is comparable to what we see in children and adolescents. Perhaps as many as three quarters of adults have some form of orthodontic problem — crowding of teeth or drifting of teeth after extractions, for example.
A great-looking smile is a surefire way to boost self-confidence and studies have demonstrated that orthodontic treatment can even enhance an adult’s career opportunities and social life. There is also a potential health benefit, as misaligned teeth can be harder to clean, setting the stage for tooth decay and gum disease. Straightening teeth can also make chewing more comfortable. So there are many reasons to consider orthodontic treatment at any age.
Perhaps as many as three quarters of adults have some form of orthodontic problem.
What will determine if you are a good candidate for orthodontic treatment, then, will not be your age; it will be your current state of periodontal health (“peri” – around; “odont” – tooth), your general health, and what type of problem you are trying to fix. Periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to the loss of tooth-supporting bone, is more prevalent in adults than in adolescents. This is an important consideration because orthodontic treatment works by gently moving teeth within the bone that supports them. And orthodontic treatment in the presence of periodontal disease can aggravate the disease and make it worse. While bone loss does not preclude successful orthodontic treatment, it is essential that any existing periodontal disease be brought under control before treatment begins.
Orthodontists (dentists who have specialized in the diagnosis of and treatment of malocclusion, which includes the study of growth and development of the jaws and teeth) can use a variety of orthodontic treatment options. Braces, the traditional little metal or plastic brackets attached to the teeth, through which wires run, are just one example of the way in which pressure and tension are applied to move teeth slowly and gently in the desired direction. Pressure will cause a portion of the bone next to the root to resorb (be dissolved by the body), while on the opposite (tension) side new bone formation occurs. This new bone builds up in the space the root moved out of, solidifying its new position.
It is essential that any existing periodontal disease be brought under control before orthodontic treatment begins.
There are a few medical conditions that may contra-indicate orthodontic treatment. Examples include severe heart-valve disease, bleeding disorders, leukemia, and severe uncontrolled diabetes. If you have any of these conditions, check with your physician and orthodontist (or dentist if he/she is doing the treatment) to make sure all the implications are understood. Also, some drugs used primarily by adults for arthritis or osteoporosis can make tooth movement more difficult. Other medications have a tendency to dry out the mouth, as does smoking. Mouth dryness may make orthodontic treatment uncomfortable and will increase your risk of tooth decay.
Another consideration is whether the malocclusion is skeletal in nature, meaning that it is related to the way your jaws fit together. In a full-grown adult this might require orthognathic surgery (“ortho” – to straighten; “gnathic” – jaw). However, for most people with less serious orthodontic problems (crowding or improper spacing, for example), the lack of physical growth will have little or no bearing on the treatment or the results.
You will find that a lot has changed since you were a teenager in terms of the orthodontic appliances themselves. Clear or colorless braces can sometimes be used instead of the metal ones, and are a lot less noticeable than they used to be, and some can even be placed on the lingual (tongue) side of the teeth. Virtually invisible clear aligners are also appropriate in many cases.
These newer appliance options no doubt have contributed to the increase in adults seeking treatment, with most reporting that they are very happy with the results. So remember that when it comes to straightening teeth, there is no age cutoff. If a better smile is something you really want, schedule a consultation with your dentist or an orthodontist to discuss your treatment options. As the saying goes, you’re only as old as you feel.
– See more at: http://www.deardoctor.com/inside-the-magazine/issue-21/orthodontics-for-the-older-adult/#sthash.HFxS3avS.dpuf
Looking for an orthodontist in Beaverton, Oregon? Biermann Orthodontics is a cutting-edge orthodontic practice that serves Beaverton and Molalla, OR, and focuses on providing world-class customer service and efficient treatment. We strive to create stunning smiles in the shortest amount of time without ever sacrificing quality.
17885 NW Evergreen Parkway, Suite 200
Beaverton, OR 97006
Call Biermann Orthodontics today to schedule a free consultation and find an orthodontic treatment option that works for you!
Article by Amy Freeman | Featured on Colgate
Seeing a general dentist a couple of times a year is fine for many people, but sometimes you may need the services of orthodontic care specialists. They are in demand when someone in your family has an overbite, an underbite or needs teeth realigned to fix crowding or spacing. Also known as Orthodontists, which are specialists who spend an additional two years studying to treat more serious dental problems like teeth and jaw alignment and dental and facial irregularities, according to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO).
When looking for a specific practice, get some information before deciding who to trust with your smile. Here are five questions to ask your potential orthodontist.
Article Featured on Perio.org
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason.
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Show your Oregon pride with our new Oregon Ducks Braces! Call Biermann Orthodontics today for a free consultation!
Some kids can’t wait to get their braces, seeing them as a sign that their teen years can’t be far behind. Others, though, worry about what they’ll feel or look like.
However your child feels, you probably have some questions and concerns of your own about braces. Here’s the lowdown on kids and braces.
Why Kids Need Braces
Kids can need braces for any number of reasons, including crooked, overlapping, or overcrowded teeth, or a “bad bite” (known as malocclusion). Malocclusion is when there’s a difference in the sizes of the top and bottom jaws. When the upper jaw is bigger than the lower jaw, it’s called an overbite. When the lower jaw is bigger, it’s called an underbite.
Sometimes tooth and jaw problems can be caused by tooth decay, losing baby teeth too soon, accidents, or habits like thumb sucking. But often they’re inherited, so if you or someone in your family needed braces, it’s likely that your kids will, too.
Article Featured on WebMD
There are several reasons why some people’s teeth grow in crooked, overlapping, or twisted. Some people’s mouths are too small for their teeth, which crowds the teeth and causes them to shift. In other cases, a person’s upper and lower jaws aren’t the same size or are malformed, resulting in either an overbite, when there is excessive protrusion of the upper jaw, or an under bite, when the lower jaw protrudes forward causing the lower jaw and teeth to extend out beyond the upper teeth.
What is malocclusion?
Malocclusion means having crooked teeth or a “poor bite” Bite refers to the way the upper and lower teeth line up. In a normal bite, the upper teeth sit slightly forward of the lower teeth. Very few people have a perfect bite.
Most of the time, malocclusion is a cosmetic problem, which means that people don’t like the way their teeth look. But it can also have a serious impact on self-esteem. Plus, crooked teeth can be hard to take care of, which may lead to tooth decay or tooth loss. When malocclusion is severe, it can even cause problems with eating or speaking.
Orthodontic treatment can correct the way teeth and jaws line up, and that may help a person feel better about his or her appearance. Dentists who are specially trained to correct malocclusion are called orthodontists. They use a variety of tools and techniques to move teeth, and sometimes the jaw, into the right position.