Monday, June 25, 2012

Why do patients seek orthodontic treatment?

It has long been believed that orthodontic treatment facilitates proper oral hygiene which reduces the incidence of periodontal disease and dental cavities. In addition, a better bite can help prevent temporomandibular joint disorders. However, it seems that the main reason to have orthodontic treatment is to improve one's esthetics. A person's smile has been identified as the second most observed facial characteristic when it comes to evaluating someone's physical attractiveness. Psychosocial research has shown that a bad bite has a negative impact on one's self-satisfaction with their appearance. This in turn tends to impair social functioning.

A recent study from Brazil looked at the oral health related quality of life of young adults who had completed orthodontic treatment compared with untreated adults. The authors found that untreated individuals had 5X higher oral health impact profile scores when compared to treated individuals. The most frequent impact was "been self-conscious". It was concluded that young adults who receive orthodontic treatment had significant better oral health-related quality of life scores than did the non-treated group of young adults.

Another Brazilian study assessed the changes in esthetic self-perception of adolescents after orthodontic treatment. The authors found that orthodontic treatment improved individual's self-perception compared to those that never received treatment. Individuals who did not receive treatment had significantly worse self-ratings.

We recognize that many people seek and undergo orthodontic treatment to improve esthetics and not necessarily address dental problems that may lead to physiological dysfunction or destruction of tissues in the oral cavity. Whatever the reason, at RiteBite Orthodontics we will provide you with both a beautiful and healthy smile!

Feu et al., Influence of orthodontic treatment on adolescents' self-perceptions of esthetics. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 2012;141:743-50.

Palomares et al., How does orthodontic treatment affect young adults' oral health-realted quality of life? Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 2012;141:751-8.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lifetime Retainer Wear

Doctor Luis, how long do I need to wear my retainers? Most of our patients are suprised when the answer is FOREVER!  Research conducted at the University of Washington followed thousands of orthodontic patients over 20 years. The purpose of the study was to determine stability after orthodontic treatment. That is, how long did straight teeth stay straight after braces were removed. Their findings are the basis of our current retention protocol.

They discovered that the patients that had the straightest teeth also had retainers that they were consistently wearing. That was the number one reason for their straight teeth was continued and consistent retainer wear. It did not matter whether you had third molars removed, or other teeth removed. Retainer wear fluctuated from a day to several days a week. Of course, every individual will vary in the amount of relapse and some patients will be more prone to relapse and tooth movement after treatment thus, some patients will need to wear their retainers to keep their teeth straight more often than others.

So what does this really mean for you? RiteBite Orthodontics knows that retainers are a very important part of the success in keeping your teeth straight for a lifetime. That is why we offer a Vivera Retainer program for all patients who want or need retainers. This program provides 4 retainers just in case you ever lose or break one of your retainers. Feel free to contact our offices for more information.