Orthodontics For Teenagers

Braces are most commonly placed between the ages of 12 and 15. Also known as fixed orthodontic appliances, braces are usually worn for 24 months and in that time can correct most dental malocclusions. Adolescents are in the unique position of having all their permanent teeth and a still-growing jaw, making them the ideal candidates for orthodontic treatment.

How does orthodontics work?
You usually think about your jaw as being solid like a rock, but when you are growing your jaw is really more like clay. If you apply pressure to your jaw, you can get your jaw to stretch. If you pull your jaw apart, your jaw will get wider. If you push your jaw back, your jaw will slowly move back. Your jaw does not actually stretch. Instead, when you pull on your jaw, your jaw grows in the direction you are pulling. Still, the important thing is that when your braces pull on your jaw, the braces change the shape of your jaw.

In the same way, if you push on your teeth, your teeth will move around in your mouth.

The orthodontic practioner pushes your jaw to stretch your mouth so all your teeth fit. He then pushes on your teeth so they are all in the proper places. If your top jaw is too small, your orthodontist can install a special gadget called a "palatal expander" to get your jaw to grow wider. If your teeth stick out, your orthodontic practioner can install another gadget called a "facebow" to push your back teeth back. In that way, your orthodontist is able to move around individual teeth and expand your jaw so that all of your teeth fit correctly in your mouth.

Why should I get Braces?
It is hard to believe when you are going through it, but braces will improve your smile and make you look excellent. Your smile is the most striking part of your face. Look in the mirror. Do you like your smile now. Well, the orthodontic practioner will make your smile look fabulous. You will end up looking great. Think about how looking great will improve your social life.

Braces Improve Your Health
You will be able to chew your food better. Chewing is the first step in digestion. If your teeth are not straight, you will not be able to chew your food correctly so partially unchewed food will go down to your stomach. That can give you an upset stomach.

You will avoid dental problems.
If you do not get orthodontic treatment when you need it you will have problems with your teeth for years to come; your teeth will be hard to clean. Your gums will hurt. Your teeth will wear in ways that the should not. The effects are significant enough that many adults are now going back to the orthodontist for braces.

You may avoid developing a breathing problem.
As you get older the roof your mouth can sometimes partially block the air passages in your nose. That makes you snore loudly, and may contribute to a condition called "sleep apnea". If you get braces you can avoid this possibility. Why do people need braces, and why didn't evolution/natural selection eliminate the need for braces? Good Question! Orthodontic problems are built into your genes.

Back, 10,000 years ago, in the days of the cave men people had nearly perfect bites. No one needed braces. But then adult cave men were only four feet tall. Teenagers were two or three feet (0.7 to 1 meter) tall. In the last 10,000 years, people got bigger. People's mouths got a little bigger but people's teeth got A LOT BIGGER. The result is that most peoples teeth no longer fit correctly in most people's mouths. Your orthodontist moves around your teeth and possibly stretches your mouth so everything fits correctly. Look how big your front teeth are now. Would those teeth fit if you were only two or three (70 cm to 1 M) feet tall?

It is associated with the "tough guy" or "bulldog" image projected by the 1940's movies, and gives a singularly masculine appearance that we associate with football players today. As with class II occlusions, this profile is associated with functional and esthetic problems. Since the lower incisors are located in front of the upper incisors, they too can erupt to unattractive lengths. This profile can be associated with a "smooth cheekbone" appearance and a tendency not to show the upper front teeth when talking or even when smiling. Biting can be a real problem for these people in extreme cases, because while class I and II profiles can stick their lower jaws out further to bite off a piece of food, it is impossible for the class III profile to draw his lower jaw any further back to make the front teeth meet.

Are there other reasons that people need braces.
Hmm. We do not know. It has been said that if babies use a pacifier (dummy) for too long, they can develop an incorrect bite. Orthodontic problems can also be caused by injuries to your mouth, or if you suck you thumb when you are older than two. Some orthodontists also say that fingernail biting, or lip biting can also cause orthodontic problems. There is also some information about breastfeeding increasing orthodontic problems if the breastfeeding is stopped suddenly. Still, most people need braces because their teeth grow faster than their mouth. That is a natural part of growing up, and there is nothing you can do about it.

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