October gives us many things to smile about: Gorgeous fall foliage, the excitement of the approaching holiday season, and the spooky fun of Halloween.
But did you know that October is also National Orthodontic Health Month?
That’s right, our friends at the American Association of Orthodontists created this annual, month-long observance to help raise awareness of the importance of good orthodontic health.
In the same spirit of creating awareness, we thought we’d share some orthodontic facts and figures with you today.
In other words, everything you didn’t know you wanted to know about orthodontia. 😀
- All orthodontists are dentists, but only 6% of dentists are orthodontists.
- Dentists become orthodontists only after finishing 2-3 years of additional, specialized training in an ADA approved program.
- Egyptian mummies have been found with metal bands in their mouths that archaeologists believe were used to straighten their teeth.
- The wiring used in modern braces was originally developed by NASA to be used in the space program.
- While many seek out braces for cosmetic purposes, straight teeth and proper jaw alignment have many health benefits as well (see below).
- Orthodontic treatment time averages 1-2 years. However, due to factors such as severity of condition and compliance with wear instructions, actual treatment time can vary greatly from patient-to-patient.
- Early treatment can minimize treatment time and costs down the road, and may even prevent the need for surgery. As such, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic screening no later than age 7.
- Teeth naturally shift throughout one’s lifetime; consequently, retainer wear is critically important in maintaining straight teeth after orthodontic treatment.
- In fact, an estimated 25% of patients will need braces again later in life because they didn’t wear their retainers as instructed.
- Over 4 million people are currently undergoing some form of orthodontic treatment in the U.S., and well over a million of those patients are adults.
Orthodontia and Your Health
It’s fairly obvious that having a beautiful smile will result in increased confidence and self-esteem (reason enough to consider visiting the orthodontist). Yet, what many people don’t realize is that orthodontic treatment is as beneficial to their health as it is to their appearance. Bringing the teeth and jaws into proper alignment can treat and/or prevent a plethora of potentially serious problems, including:
- Chronic Neck and Jaw Pain, Headaches/Migraines
- Digestive Issues
- Cuts or Sores in the Mouth (which could become infected)
- Tooth Injury, Decay, and Loss
- Gum Disease (which has long been linked to heart disease)
In short, the value of orthodontic treatment extends far beyond aesthetics.
Are you or your children among the millions of Americans that are currently receiving orthodontic treatment? If not, now is the perfect time to take that first step toward optimal orthodontic health with a FREE consultation and exam.
You can email us anytime to make your appointment, or call us between 8am and 5pm Monday-Thursday or between 8am and 4pm on Fridays. If it is determined that treatment is necessary, we will develop a customized plan that caters to your unique orthodontic needs, lifestyle, and budget.
We hope you enjoyed the orthodontic trivia we shared with you today. We also hope that you now have a greater understanding of the important role orthodontic treatment can play in your health. We wish you a happy and healthy National Orthodontic Health Month and Halloween when it’s time!
Speaking of Halloween, those with children currently wearing braces will want to check out our three tips for a braces friendly Halloween.