Among the most frequent queries to orthodontists are the following:
Is it true that self-ligating braces are quicker than conventional brackets?
Self-ligating or frictionless brackets have been increasing in popularity lately. This is because the suppliers have advanced claims that they create less friction and ultimately speed up the treatment. However recent published research evaluating effectiveness of self-ligating brackets show that self-ligating brackets and conventional brackets treat malocclusion in relatively same amount of time and with a similar number of appointments. So shorter treatment time is not a proven reason to use these brackets.
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To what extent do orthodontics affect "jaw joint disorder?"
The answer is a mixed blessing: Treatment does not cause TMD, nor does it prevent this problem. A very large study in actual fact examined this very issue, and came up with some very clear and decisive conclusions regarding orthodontics and jaw joint disorder, as follows:
No significant association between a bad bite and persistent TMD
There is likewise absolutely no decisive relationship between the presence of TMD and orthodontic treatments the patient may or may not have had
Jaw joint disorder is for some reason less common in males than females
Being a female was found to be a predictor for both incidence and persistence of TMD
TMD prevalence was highest at age 19-20
Should I extract my third molars (wisdom teeth)?
There is no good data to support the fact that eruption of third molars can cause relapse of crowding after an orthodontic treatment. There are a couple of instances when the wisdom teeth should be removed: If doing so will improve the overall health and condition of the adjoining second molars- the wisdom teeth can contribute to cavities for them- or if the wisdom teeth are only partially erupted. When wisdom teeth are completley concealed and inside the jaw bone, there is an amplified incidence of jaw fracture (two to five times!) in the event of a trauma to the jaw or facial area. So in this sense, extraction can be preventative.
Can a really bad bite be fixed using headgear, or are there other options?
The perfect age for diagnosing and treating underbites are in the seventh and eighth years. To correct skeletal under bite (upper jaw smaller than lower jaw), we need to take advantage of the upper jaw growth. However, on the average, upper jaw growth diminishes significantly by age 11, so the best time to treat these cases is from age 7-10. Treatment will require wearing a headgear to pull the upper jaw forward (bone movement) at least 14 hours a day, including nighttime sleeping with it. The upper jaw is then slowly and steadily drawn forward until such a time as the lower jaw stops growing- the sooner the better for the patient! This treatment is successful more than seventy-five percent of the time. By "success" we mean long term success. In cases where the treatment was started late (after age 11) and in cases where either the patient (and/or parents!) are not self-disciplined enough to wear the headgear for the required hours during the treatment run, surgey may be needed. This is also the case when the growth of the lower jaw is greater than usual.