Why get braces? Part II A guide for prospective patients

Find out how braces can improve your appearance, improve your health, make you look beautiful, and even possibly lower your risk of heart disease. View before and after pictures of orthodontic patients. Find out about the risks of orthodontics and how to avoid the unsafe dentists.

Click Here for Part 1 Of Why Get Braces

The benefits of orthodontic treatment go beyond making your face look wonderful.

Proper Occlusion
Proper Occlusion
Class I Malocclusion
Class I Malocclusion
Class II Malocclusion
Class II Malocclusion
Class III Malocclusion
Class III Malocclusion
  • You will be able to chew your food easier.

    Chewing is the first step in digestion. If your teeth are crooked, you will not be able to chew your food properly which can lead to recurrent indigestion.

  • You will avoid dental problems

    Crooked teeth are hard to clean so that people with crooked teeth tend to have more cavities and gum problems than people who have orthodontic treatment. Crooked teeth wear in ways that they should not. This puts extra stress on your teeth, gums and jaw which can lead to problems later on.

  • 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. If you have orthodontic treatment you may avoid this possibility.

  • Statistically, people who have had braces as children have lower incidence of cardiovascular disease as adults

    Children who get braces learn to take care of themselves, and that translates into a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. There is also some recent data which indicates that oral bacteria might play a direct role in cardiovascular disease, by dissolving calcium in your mouth and depositing it into your arteries. Orthodontics helps prevent oral infections which may have a direct effect on heart disease.

How Much Does Orthodontic Treatment Cost?

It matters how much needs to be done. Typically orthodontic treatment costs between $3,000 and $7,000 in the USA. The cost goes up to $18,000 in Tokyo! This may seem like a lot, but think about how much you spend to maintain your car. You will probably visit the orthodontist 75 to 100 times during the course of your treatment. At that rate, the cost of orthodontic treatment works out to be $30 to $100 per visit. Can you get your car serviced as inexpensively? A typical car lasts 8-10 years. If you add up the cost of maintenance of the car over that 8-10 year period you will find that the car costs much more than $3000 to $8000 to maintain. The cost of orthodontic treatment is less than the cost of maintaining your car over the lifetime of your car. Your smile will last as long as you live, perhaps 90 years. Wouldn't be great if your car would last for 90 years and only need $3000 to $7000 of maintenance?

For further information about the costs of orthodontic treatment click here

How will My Lifestyle Be Affected When I Have Braces?

You will be able to do everthing you do now. Swim, kiss, talk. You will not be able to eat a few things such as bubble gum and peanut butter, and you will have to wear a mouthguard when you participate in sports. However, your lifestyle will hardly be affected, and you will end up with a fabulous smile.

For further information about what it is like to have braces, click here

Are There Any Risks To Getting Braces?

There are some risks, but they usually are not serious. Occasionally a patient will develop an allergy to their braces. Your orthodontist should catch the allergy before it is serious. There also may be a small risk of developing problems with the joint in your jaw although a study in the May 1996 American Journal of Orthodontics indicates that if orthodontics are done properly, you will not develop a jaw problem.

For further information about allergies to orthodontic products click here.

You do need to be careful choosing your orthodontist. Some orthodontists take orthodontic materials out of one patients mouth and "recycle" them to another patients mouth. You also need to be careful that your orthodontist sterilizes his instruments properly and that he takes all of the x-rays needed to detect and avoid jaw problems.

For further information about "recycling" of orthodontic products click here

For information about sterilization of orthodontic products click here

For description of other risks click here

How can I avoid the inferior dentist?

We included a detailed list. Click here to read it

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, it 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 orthodontist uses that fact that he can apply force to get your jaw and teeth to move, to stretch your mouth so all your teeth fit. If your top jaw is too small, the orthodontist can install a special gadget called a "palatal expander" to get your jaw to grow wider. If your teeth stick out, your orthodontist can install another gadget called a "facebow" to push the back teeth back. In that way, orthodontist is able to move around individual teeth and expand your jaw so that all of your teeth fit correctly in your mouth.

If poor orthodontia causes so many health problems, why didn't evolution/natural selection eliminate orthodontic problems?

Good Question! Back, 10,000 years ago, in the days of the cave men people had nearly perfect bites. No one needed orthodontics. But then adult cave men were only four feet tall. Teenagers were two or three feet 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 mouth. The 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 three feet tall?

Are there other causes of orthodontic problems?

Hmm. We do not know. It has been said that if babies use a pacifier (dummy) for too long, they can develop an orthodontic problem. Orthodontic problems can also be caused by injuries to your mouth, or if you suck your thumb when you are older than two. Some orthodontists also say that fingernail biting, or lip biting can also cause orthodontic problems. Still, most people develop orthodontic problems because their teeth grow faster than their mouth.

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