Many of us dream of having a perfect smile with straight, white teeth. And according to Irmo cosmetic dentist Dr. Gregory Wych crooked teeth can have a serious negative effect on self-esteem and/or even how people chew. Having crooked teeth or a bad bite is referred to as malocclusion.
A common cause of this condition is teeth that have too much or too little room in the patient’s jaw. If a child has a small jaw, their teeth may grow into a space that is too small and eventually drift out of place. Other causes of crooked teeth include thumb-sucking, pacifiers, and tooth loss.
Your Irmo cosmetic dentist usually checks for malocclusion in children during their regular dental visits. If the jaw or teeth are out of line, your dentist may suggest a visit to an orthodontist. The malocclusion treatments for children and adolescents include:
- Extraction of some baby teeth to relieve serious crowding.
- Growth modification, whichinvolves wearing fixed appliances during the day and night to move the jaw into a more favorable position.
- Fixed appliances (braces) that move the teeth gradually over time.
- Retainers that hold the teeth in place after orthodontic treatment.
- Metal or plastic space maintainers that keep the surrounding teeth from moving into open spaces created when teeth are pulled or lost in an accident.
Your Irmo cosmetic dentist reports that orthodontic treatment for malocclusion is a popular option for adults, primarily because of its improved technology. In the past, wide silver bands held braces in place, but today a small metal or ceramic fastener is bonded to each tooth, with a narrow wire passing through the fasteners.
Some cases of malocclusion require orthodontic treatment to straighten the teeth, but in many cases, the decision is a matter of personal choice. Besides looking nice, straight teeth can improve how you bite, chew, and speak and they are less susceptible to decay, gum disease, and injury.
The timing of treatment is ultimately up to you and your child or teen. If you have concerns about malocclusion, call the office of Irmo cosmetic dentist Dr. Gregory Wych today to schedule an appointment to discuss the pros and cons of treatment options that are available to you.