THE TRUTH ABOUT SOME COMMON DENTAL MYTHS

The profession of dentistry has experienced an amazing evolution over its lifetime. References to tooth decay can be found in various ancient texts. At one time, a local barber would provide haircuts and pull troublesome teeth in the same shop. Dentistry evolved from these humble beginnings to what we know today: a structured medical discipline where patients benefit from evidenced-based care. Oddly enough, though, several oral health myths and misconceptions have failed to fade away....

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SIMPLE STEPS TO MAINTAIN YOUR ORAL HEALTH

On the list of common reasons people avoid the dentist, cost is usually near the top. It is a fact — some dental treatments are expensive. However, you have some control in working to avoid pricey dental procedures. Two of the best ways to avoid needing expensive dental treatments are to visit a dentist regularly for an exam and cleaning and following proper dental hygiene advice every day.

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COMMON SLEEP DISORDER WREAKS HAVOC ON THE BODY

The National Sleep Foundation estimates over 18 million adults in the United States, or about one in every 15 people, suffer from sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that interrupts breathing, resulting in disruptive sleep. Individuals suffering from obstructive sleep apnea will experience a repetitive (partial or complete) airway collapse throughout their sleep, which prevents air from reaching the lungs.

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BRACES - COULD THEY HELP YOUR SMILE?

A variety of orthodontic treatment options are typically available for individuals to consider. These include both the technique and the planning of parts. Orthodontists work with their teams to collect information and evaluate the unique situation of each patient they see in order to discuss the best options to address their specific condition. What works well for one person may not be the best treatment choice for another.


The metal braces many people think of when picturing orthodontic treatment are just one among several available choices. Orthodontic appliance options include:


Metal Braces:

A traditional and common option, these are generally suitable for all cases due to their durability. Patients enjoy selecting from a wide variety of colorful elastics, which can be changed with each check-up visit, to wrap around each bracket.


Self-Ligating Braces:

This option offers several bracket types, including metal or clear options. They are usually smaller and there is no need to use colored elastic ties.


Ceramic Braces:

Although similar to metal braces, the brackets are made of ceramic and are thus clear. Patients may prefer this option as treatment is less noticeable, but it should be noted ceramic brackets are more fragile. Patients must take more care not to damage brackets.


Clear Aligners:

This treatment option has gained popularity over recent years because it offers an almost invisible treatment option for teenagers and adults. Patients will wear a series of custom trays as they progress through their treatment. Although several options are available for people to skip going to an orthodontist to obtain trays, using a direct-to-consumer option, individuals should be careful of this route. Many times patients are only asked to take an initial scan or impression of their teeth and the treatment plan does not include the benefit of additional information about their unique oral health situation, such as important X-rays. Patients many times also lack the knowledge of who exactly is planning their treatment and what that person’s qualifications and experience may be, so they do not have the benefit of in-person check-ins to confirm treatment is staying on a desired course.


Lingual Braces:

In this treatment option, brackets are adhered to the back of the teeth, so treatment is not noticeable when a patient smiles.


How Does an  Orthodontist Help?

Orthodontists have completed dental school as well as several years of additional education and training specifically in the area of orthodontic treatment. This enables them to aid in efforts to correctly diagnose and address issues in teeth and jaws. Some orthodontists will then elect to complete board certification in orthodontics to secure a voluntary credential demonstrating their commitment to ongoing continuing education. Board certification is a step beyond state required licensure. The accumulation of this training and experience make these orthodontists experts in evaluating the dental needs of patients and serving as a guide toward a correct diagnosis and therefore the best goal-oriented treatment plan for a patient’s needs.


How Can You Make a Decision About Orthodontic Treatment?

Many people understand they need or want orthodontic treatment to enhance their smiles. However, multiple questions may come to mind when thinking of braces, such as: How long will it take? What is the cost? How often are dental visits needed? Will teeth need to be removed? Are there new techniques to consider? Although you can easily ask a friend or a parent of a child who is currently undergoing orthodontic treatment, the best way to answer these questions is to schedule a screening with an orthodontist. Screening appointments are available at no cost in many cases.


What Else You May Need to Know

Teeth should be clean, healthy and without any need of dental work before starting orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic appliances make cleaning teeth more difficult; therefore, oral hygiene should be excellent while your teeth are in braces.


Additionally, after the braces come off, research demonstrates the need to use some type of retainer in order to maintain finished results. Patients should be sure to follow the recommendations of their orthodontist to help avoid shifting of teeth.

DR. LINA SHARAB

Dr. Lina Sharab is an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry. As an orthodontist and biomaterial specialist, her clinical interests include invisible orthodontics, surgical orthodontics and interdisciplinary care. More information about UK Dentistry is available at.  www.ukhealthcare.uky.edu/dentistry.

more articles by dr Lina Sharab

Many people think of orthodontic treatment when they have concerns about crowded or misplaced teeth. While metal braces are often considered a rite of passage for teenagers, there are a number of issues orthodontic treatment can help address for individuals without age limits. These issues include not only teeth and occlusion (the position of the teeth when the jaws are closed) but also facial balance and aesthetics.


The American Association of Orthodontists offers the following list of challenges that can typically be addressed through orthodontic treatment: