There are many reasons why a dentist may recommend braces and orthodontic treatment. It is used to correct a malocclusion, otherwise called a bad bite. Malocclusion is a condition caused by crowded, crooked or protruding teeth; teeth that are out of alignment, or jaws that do not meet properly. Malocclusion may be inherited; it may also be the result of thumb sucking, or the premature loss of teeth.
Correcting the problem with braces can result in better oral health because crooked and crowded teeth can make daily oral hygiene difficult. Over time, this may lead to caries (tooth decay), gum disease and possibly tooth loss. An improper bite can interfere with chewing and speaking, cause abnormal wear to tooth enamel and lead to problems with the jaws.
Two types of braces are available. There are fixed braces, which are worn all of the time and can be removed only by the dentist. The second is removable, which the patient can take in and out of his or her mouth. The dentist ultimately selects the type of braces based on the patient’s treatment needs and how well he or she will follow instructions regarding care and oral hygiene.
Orthodontic treatment time, and time in braces, is generally is an estimate that varies from patient to patient. The dentist has specific treatment goals in mind, and treatment typically continues until the goals are achieved. The result will be worth the wait.