What causes crooked teeth?

Heredity is the main cause although local factors such as finger sucking, high cavity rate, gum disease, trauma and premature loss of baby teeth can also contribute to a bad bite.

Why should I have my teeth straightened?

Poorly arranged teeth can break easily and can trap food particles that cause tooth decay and gum disease.

They can also lead to poor chewing and digestion which can be bad for your overall health. Finally, poorly arranged teeth detract from your smile which is one of the more important features of your face.

What do rubber bands do?

Rubber bands or elastics contribute a lot to straighter teeth. They are marvels of physics.

Attached to your braces, elastics exert the energy force that creates the right amount of pressure to move teeth. It's important to wear your elastics all the time and change them every day so the force is constant which the teeth like. As for bouncing an elastic off someone across the room, it will happen (don't worry, your aim will improve).

How do braces straighten crooked teeth?

Braces use steady, gentle pressure over time to move teeth into their proper positions. They don't look like they're doing much just sitting there but in fact, every moment or your orthodontic treatment, there's something happening in your mouth.

Something good for you. The brackets we place on your teeth and the main archwire that connects them, are the two main components.The bracket is a piece of specially shaped metal or ceramic that we affix to each tooth. Then we bend the archwire to reflect your ideal; bite-what we want you to look like after treatment. The wire threads through the brackets and, as the wire tries to return to its original shape, it applies pressure to actually move your teeth. Picture your tooth resting in your jaw bone. With pressure on one side from the archwire, the bone on the other side gives way. The tooth moves. New bone grows in behind. It may look like nothing is happening--but we're making a new smile here. Thanks to new materials and procedures, all this happens much quicker than ever before. It's kind of an engineering feat.

Will braces correct TMD or jaw joint problems?

Braces may or may not improve jaw joint problems. More conservative approaches should be tried first.

How many people receive orthodontic care?

Approximately 4 million people are in braces in the US at any one time.

Can you be too old for braces?

No. If the bone and gum tissue around the teeth are healthy, age is not a factor. About 20% of orthodontic patients are adults.

Will orthodontics change my lifestyle?

And you'll have to spend a few extra minutes cleaning your braces after meals. But, for the most part, you'll find braces don't cramp your style. You'll still have fun. You'll still be able to sing, play your musical instrument, smile, play sports and of course, kiss.

Is orthodontic care expensive?

Many medical aids now include orthodontics. Well timed orthodontic treatment to correct a problem is often less costly than the additional dental care required to treat the more serious problems that can develop years later.