The Misconception of the Merit of Straight Teeth
Our society has been besieged with the Madison Avenue philosophy of beauty, style, ostentation, and materialism to such a degree that it is pervasive even the allied health fields. How much money is spent in this country on facial surgery, liposuction, collagen injections, and make-up etc? It is no wonder why some of the orthodontic parents in my office ask the apparent question: “Is this orthodontic treatment for my daughter/son just to improve her/his appearance”? My reply affirms that a pleasant smile and general appearance will help to improve the child’s self-image especially during the emotional turmoil of adolescence. I then usually take the position of attempting to discuss the biological benefits of a healthy functioning attractive dentition. Let’s briefly look at some of these advantages.
During the development of the child’s cranium due to either genetics or external forces of the thumb, pacifier or the tongue the palate of the child may be narrow. This not only presents less space to erupt the teeth but it also may constrict the airway since the sinuses are a large part of the upper jaw. Often these patients will snore and may exhibit periods of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition during which restful sleep is interrupted with irregular breathing. These events have recently been suggested to affect the child’s behavior due to inadequate rest. These narrow palate patients can be easily expanded with gentle contemporary palatal expanders to aid in the normal eruption of the teeth.
Often a patient will present to the office with a lower jaw further back than the rest of the face. These patients have the potential of future TMJ issues. These symptoms may include facial fatigue, muscle pain, facial muscle spasm, clicking or popping of the jaw, or even arthritis of the joint itself. These issues can be resolved by facilitating the forward movement of the lower jaw while the patient is still growing.
The long term health of the bone and gum tissue supporting the teeth can only be maintained with good oral hygiene. If the hygiene is inadequate the gums will be inflamed and bleeding will soon follow. In addition, if this inflammation persists it will extend into the bone and the response of the bone to this inflammation is resorption. This process will reduce the amount of supporting bone around the teeth and they will become mobile and painful. This is called periodontal disease and if it persists it will cause tooth loss. If the teeth can be aligned properly routine hygiene with brushing and flossing is easier and therefore the inflammation can be controlled.
These are some of the symptoms that can be treated with orthodontics and yes as a side-bar result of the treatment the teeth will be straight to satisfy our society’s Madison Ave. requirements.
Food for Financial Thought
|Three unit porcelain bridge replacing one missing tooth||$3600.00|
|One implant and cap/crown||$4300.00|
|Full mouth orthodontic treatment for 28 teeth||PRICELESS ($5000.00)|