Six-month orthodontic treatments are one of the more modern advancements in dentistry today. As the name implies six-month braces are an orthodontic appliance with treatment times that are on average completed in six months, as opposed to the year or years associated with traditional braces. Some patients are treated in quicker times and some longer depending on the severity of the treatment. For most patients however a six-month treatment period is a short and attractive solution to problems associated with poor esthetics of the teeth and the problems associated with malocclusion (bad bite).
Most patients seeking orthodontic treatments do so with the objective of improving their smile although six-month braces may be recommended by an orthodontist to improve the affects of a malocclusion. Malocclusion or an improper bite can cause difficulty chewing and make teeth harder to clean which can lead to more problems such as tooth decay, gum disease and possible tooth loss. Additionally an improper bite can cause abnormal wear to the enamel of your teeth, and can be the cause of pains and problems with the jaw.
It is an individual decision or a parent's decision on behalf of their children to seek orthodontic care. Many people live with the problems associated with malocclusion and don't have the motivation to seek orthodontic treatment. On the other hand, many people feel more comfortable knowing that they have properly aligned, attractive teeth, and orthodontic care can help improve appearance and build self-confidence.
Besides the esthetic benefits of braces, orthodontic care also can contribute to long-term dental health. Straight, properly aligned teeth are an investment in your oral health. A bad bite can make maintaining teeth more difficult and can lead to oral health problems that would have been much cheaper and easier to prevent than to fix.
In addition to the above the appeal of six-month braces is to both correct an unattractive smile and improve overall oral health in a shorter period of time than traditional methods.
A malocclusion (bad bite) is the most common oral health issue prompting orthodontic treatment. It may be caused by one or more of the following:
Small Mouth- A limited amount of space for the teeth to grow caused by a small mouth can foster crowding once the permanent teeth come in.
Extra Teeth/Not Enough Teeth- The development of extra teeth or lack of teeth that do not develop can affect your bite.
Misaligned Jaw or Supporting Bone- Malocclusion from a misaligned jaw or supporting bone structure can affect the bite. This can result in difficulty chewing and speaking, or otherwise impact the functionality of the teeth. This can also be attributed to additional oral health problems such as TMJ and teeth grinding (bruxing).
Premature loss of primary teeth- When a primary (baby) tooth is lost too early, the permanent tooth loses its guide and can drift or come into the mouth incorrectly. Sometimes the permanent teeth may be crowded, or they may come in only partially. In some cases, the teeth next to the primary tooth that was lost too early can move or tilt into the space left by the missing tooth and prevent the permanent tooth from coming in.
Trauma- Teeth that have been fractured or knocked out and then replaced may fuse with the bone that surrounds them. When this happens in a growing child, the teeth will not be able to line up properly in the jaw, causing an irregular bite.
Prolonged pacifier use or thumb sucking- These adolescent habits can cause bite irregularity, such as a pronounced protrusion (extension) of your upper teeth over your lower teeth.
Tongue Thrusting- Often times children thrust their tongue forward, pressing it against the lips with a force that can result in the protrusion (extension) of teeth, or "open bite," among other problems.
Six-month braces have been proven effective on almost any type of case that is treatable with an orthodontic appliance. The following is a list of common oral health problems six-month braces have treated:
Straight teeth help you to effectively bite, speak, and chew. Straight teeth contribute to healthy teeth and gums and your overall appearance. Teeth that are properly aligned also tend to look better, and an attractive smile is a pleasant side effect to professional orthodontic treatment.
Upon your consultation with your dentist regarding your teeth and smile, an evaluation of your bite may be taken to develop an individualized treatment plan including:
Many patients may think that the secret to six-month braces as compared to traditional braces is an aggressive tightening of the wires to straighten teeth in an abbreviated period of time. This type of process would actually slow down tooth movement by crushing the supporting structures around the teeth and would also cause pain to the patient.
In reality six-month braces use wires that exert a light continuous force to move the teeth in a gentle manner that is comfortable and effective. Many patients who have had traditional braces and have chosen to get six-month brace for relapse purposes make claims that they are more comfortable than the traditional orthodontic treatment they received.
In addition to the quick and comfortable treatment time, six-month braces also offer other advantages. Six-month braces allow the use of metal braces but also clear braces. For patients seeking more image-conscious treatments there is an "invisible" method that places the braces behind the teeth, this way patients can maintain their professional image while strengthening their teeth.
To find out if six-month braces are appropriate for you consult with your dentist, orthodontist, or cosmetic dentist to see if they offer this type of treatment. Most patients seeking corrective orthodontic treatments will qualify for six-month braces, although only your dentist or orthodontic specialist can determine if they will work for your unique situation.