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The Importance of Orthodontics

12 Nov, 2015

The Importance of Orthodontics

It's somewhat surprising to learn that orthodontics is just beginning its second century as a staple of American dentistry. Edward Angle, a Pennsylvania-born dentist, has been dubbed "the father of modern orthodontics" and opened the first orthodontic-specific dental school in St. Louis in 1900. There, Angle worked with artist Edward Wuerpel to come up with a cosmetically appealing way to fix teeth-i.e. braces-as well as other surgical solutions.
Now, as the second decade of the 21st century gets under way, orthodontic services are almost as common as regular, routine dental services. Choosing a dentist for orthodontics is as much a ritual for parents of teenagers as setting curfew (and fuming when the kids push the boundaries by coming home just a few minutes late!). But why is it so important to find the right orthodontic services and how can these decisions impact people later in life? Read on for some tips that may come in handy as you set out to choose a dentist for orthodontics:
The earlier a doctor can identify a problem, the quicker it can be fixed and the less likely it is to hamper someone into adulthood and beyond. Very few people have a perfect set of teeth-in fact, most have a "malocclusion," i.e. misaligned teeth (Angle coined this term). But not all malocclusions require corrective braces and/or surgery. Dentists can give a general idea of whether or not braces and/or surgery will be needed, but those who will certainly require braces and/or surgery-as well as those who are uncertain-should see a doctor as soon as possible so that any measures can be taken quickly.
If orthodontic services are needed but not administered for whatever reason-with finances and a lack of insurance being at the top of the list-it can lead to physical and cosmetic issues later in life. Particularly extreme malocclusions can result in uneven placement of the teeth and lead to aesthetic problems of the face, compromised chewing that leads to other issues, and even speech problems. That doesn't even take into account the problems with appearance. Teeth and mouth issues can make a person feel awkward, lower his or her self-esteem and lead to a reluctance to go out in public or participate in societal events.
Orthodontic services early in life can result in a patient taking better care of his or her teeth for as long as he or she has them. Those who have to wear braces have to be more careful than those who don't-there are certain foods that shouldn't be consumed by people wearing braces, and those with braces need to brush, floss and use mouthwash after every meal in order to maximize the performance of their braces. These habits, instilled during the two or three adolescent years most people have to wear braces, will likely remain long after the braces are gone, which can only help the long-term health of the patient's teeth.
Dental care is important. Orthodontics is no different-and the earlier you begin investigating orthodontic services, the better! Start choosing a dentist for your orthodontics today and you and your family will reap the rewards for decades to come!

Dr. Goldberg received his D.D.S. from University of Maryland at Baltimore. He is a member of the American Dental Association, the New Jersey Dental Association, the Jersey Coast Dental Forum, and the Seattle Study Club. His pursuit of continuing education annually exceeds state requirements including the Mid-Atlantic Dental Implant Center and a 2003-2004 Residency in Implant Prosthetics. Howell Dental Associates


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