Braces are used to correct “bad bites,” or malocclusion (teeth that are crowded or crooked). Your teeth may be straight, but your upper and lower jaws may not meet properly. Malocclusion can run in families or can be brought on by bad habits (thumb sucking) or even injury.
Your general dentist may have informed you of an abnormal bite and recommended a consultation with Dr. Koch. Depending on your individual case needs, Dr. Koch will present what your treatment options are. Traditional metal braces might be your best fit, but you might also be a candidate for clear braces or Invisalign treatment. The good news is that orthodontics will not only bring you a perfect smile, but will also promote a healthier mouth.
Abnormal bites and crooked teeth can result in further oral health problems, such as:
- tooth decay
- gum disease
- tooth loss
- affected speech and/or chewing
- abnormal wear to tooth enamel
- jaw problems
Straightening your teeth and correcting your bite will minimize oral health risks. To achieve a straighter smile, traditional braces apply pressure to your teeth. The metal brackets are bonded to your teeth and connected by a wire. Dr. Koch will periodically adjust the wire to align your teeth and bring your smile and jaw into alignment.
Abnormal bites usually become defined between the ages of 7 and 14. Orthodontic treatment can start anytime during those years and can continue until the desired results are achieved. Although braces are usually started once all of the baby teeth have fallen out orthodontics can be applied and successfully used for any age patient.
Treatment duration will vary very from patient to patient, but the typical treatment span is 8 to 24 months. This is followed by a period of wearing a retainer that will hold your teeth in their new aligned positions.
During treatment with traditional metal braces, it is a good idea to avoid certain sticky or hard foods that might damage your teeth or brackets. Typically, however, your diet should not change all that much. Dr. Koch and his staff will be happy to answer any questions about what foods to avoid.
It is also recommended to review the best ways to clean and care for your braces.