A perfectly aligned pearly white Hollywood smile is a dream for all of us. Many of us are born with teeth that are not aligned perfectly. Research proves that teeth that are overlapping are difficult to clean in-between and they are more prone to decay or gum infection leading to a shorter life span. A 13-year follow up research conducted in Finland showed a sixty to one hundred and forty percent increase in risk for heart disease in patients who had a loss of five or more teeth. The research found correlations between missing teeth and diabetes, heart disease and death so much so that that multiple missing teeth can be an indicator of chronic diseases.
While an overlapping upper canine is considered lucky, in some regions, it’s possible that that lucky tooth may cause decay or gum infection in two more adjacent teeth. Such decay in overlapping teeth may occur as early as early or mid twenties.
Once decay sets in, since it’s an irreversible destruction to the tooth, the natural tooth structure cannot be restored one hundred percent. Again, restoring overlapping teeth are a challenge on their own. Teeth with spaces in between tend to lose the supporting bone structure around them faster and eventually become weaker. The same is observed in lower front crowded teeth, they tend to shake and fall out earlier. Protruding teeth are also prone to injuries and fractures.
Accumulation of plaque in between teeth harbors bacteria. In a study conducted in Chennai, it was found that the plaque that accumulated inside the arteries of patients undergoing coronary by-pass had the same bacteria that was found in dental plaque.Prevention being better than cure always, it is therefore better that alignment problems are addressed at the earliest. Overlapping teeth or crowded teeth arrangement are genetic. So if the children are found to have crowded teeth, the treatment can begin as early as 6 years of age! (But again it’s never too late and better late than never). Many preventive treatments can be taken before the pubertal growth spurt occurs. Correction of jaw growth discrepancies, example, narrow lower jaw which gives a bird like appearance or a longer lower jaw giving a concave facial appearance can be corrected earlier channeling the normal forces of the muscles while swallowing and speaking. Milk teeth can be removed in a particular sequence to help the permanent teeth to arrange themselves in a perfect order without undergoing any active treatment using braces or any appliance.
However, if childhood intervention has not been possible, individual tooth arrangement can be corrected using the now advanced science of orthodontics (ortho means straight and dontics is dentistry) . Earlier, the teeth were corrected using metal braces which literally means to shackle the teeth. Now the technological advancements and the marriage of engineering and medicine has brought CAD CAM and 3D printing into dentistry, slowly taking away the necessity to use braces to shackle the teeth. The technology of using removable, transparent resin covers instead of wires to impart 3 dimensional force to the teeth to move teeth into alignment is called aligners.
Being invisible, these aligners can be used even by working executives who need to meet and interact with people throughout the day because it does not hamper day to day life. It can be removed and worn again easily. Newer technologies and treatment methodologies have been developed to make these treatments which used to last for years into a few months duration.
Hence prevent tooth loss due to alignment problems.
The Hollywood smile is not so far away..and so is health and happiness ..