Hard pressure applied to both teeth and jaws through gnashing and clenching. These are becoming common signs of difficult times. Difficult circumstances in life, such as identity crisis and job insecurity, create tension which is mirrored by harmful mouth movements. Grinding of the teeth and clenching of the jaws during sleep, otherwise known as bruxism, is a common condition for adults who want to release tension. Side effects such as ear pain, headaches, and vertigo may result from the neuromuscular problem known as the clicking of jaws.
Studies of bruxism reveal that women in the over 40 age bracket are more prone to it than men by about four to one. For men, stomach problems are the signs of tension, while for women, it's usually problems in the mouth. Orthodontics will not cure the problem, but damage to the teeth can be temporarily prevented through the wearing of a retainer or a jaw strap until the frustrations that cause the tension can be dealt with.
Orthodontists are now seeing bruxism and other dental problems for the first time. Straightening teeth just for cosmetic purposes is not just the only thing that the field of orthodontics is concerning itself with these past years. New techniques and theories have sprung up, and these involve the overall facial structure.
Many adults may actually require the services of orthodontists, even if the orthodontics is perceived to mainly cater to adolescents. Treatment for adults would involve more care in the part of orthodontists. The tissues of adults are not as quick in bouncing back as those of children.
Advances in combining both plastic surgery and orthodontics have been made so that reconstruction of deformities that have come about because of jaw protrusion and clefts may be done. Jaw growth problems are mostly the cases that orthodontists deal with every year. The jaw is often the master of the teeth. Placing the jaw at the right place would most likely lead the teeth also to the place they're supposed to be. Through surgery or corrective appliances, the underdeveloped jaw may be guided to grow properly.
While non compulsory, orthodontics does prevent certain dental diseases from happening. Those who suck their thumbs may wind up with a condition called improper tongue thrust, which can lead to speech impediment and improper swallowing. Teeth can change their positions drastically because of the strength of the tongue.
Since chinstraps exert upward and downward forces on the lower jaw when worn, they are used to correct malocclusion or abnormal bite. Bone damage and loss of teeth are just two things that may happen because of a bad bite. The improvement of materials used for braces, such as the replacement of heavy metals with chromium and cobalt, as well as bonding of plastic with metal, have improved the cosmetic aspect of dental devices. Though plastic is not always as effective as metal, in some cases it can be worn and is more aesthetically pleasing than a mouthful of metal.
What is being used in orthodontics more commonly nowadays is a device known as the laminagraph. The dentofacial region can be Xrayed in just one shot by this device, which uses only one sixth of the total amount of radiation commonly used for full mouth Xrays. Laminagraphy will not replace the use of individual X rays in locating tooth decay, but it will create better diagnoses.