Did you know that October is National Orthodontic Health month? Most people equate orthodontics to painful, unsightly braces. These braces straighten patients’ teeth leading to heightened self-esteem and self-confidence. A less obvious outcome of orthodontic work is the improved dental health. Orthodontics, therefore, is a specialized field of dentistry that greatly impacts a patient’s life. In remembrance of National Orthodontic Health month, here is a brief summary and history on orthodontics:
What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry that focuses on correcting teeth and jaw alignment issues. Braces are the most common devices orthodontics recommend to patients. In an American Dental Association article, it was stated that 1.2 million American adults sport braces. The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) states that 4.6 million in the United States wear braces. Braces, Invisalign, mouth guards, retainers, headgear, and Bruxism mouth guards not only straighten teeth and jaws, but it improves the appearance and health of the mouth. Crooked teeth and jaws can lead to other, more serious dental issues if they are not treated by an orthodontist.
In most cases, orthodontic problems become apparent in young patients and orthodontic work is started between the ages of 10 and 14. Most children undergo orthodontic treatment early to have straight and healthy smiles as adults. The AAO recommends that orthodontal check-ups for children should begin at age 7. It is during this time children are nearing the end of the baby tooth losing phase, making the early alignment correction of crooked teeth most effective. Some patients postpone orthodontic work and, as a result, wear braces as adults. New technology in braces has made it easier for adults to wear braces without the bulky, scratchy and unsightly appearance of traditional braces. Orthodontic patients usually see their orthodontist a few times per month. Orthodontists use x-rays to monitor the treatment progress.
The Brief History of Orthodontics
Braces date back to ancient times. The first braces were crude and composed of metal wires and animal intestines being wrapped around teeth to close gaps. Orthodontics as we know today came about in France in the 1700s when French dentists Pierre Fauchard and Louis Bourdet wrote about the “bandeau,” a horseshoe shaped piece of metal used to expand and maintain a patient’s mouth arch. In the early 20th century a college dedicated to orthodontics opened and the American Association of Orthodontics was created.
Way back in ancient times philosophers discussed the use of dental devices to straighten teeth to make a person’s smile beautiful. Orthodontists today continue to care about the dental health of their patients. Our specialists at Out of This World Dentistry believe that straight teeth and jaws are not only a confidence booster, but also an oral health enhancer. We want your teeth to look and function as they should. Crooked teeth look bad, can be a breeding ground for plaque, can cause pain and discomfort and lead to other, more serious dental problems. The best way to start is to start early. Contact us at one of our three locations today for a thorough teeth cleaning and exam. Let us help you get on your way to a healthy, straight smile.