Teeth like the English
A commonly found source of humour in Hollywood comedies is poking fun at the supposed state of British people’s teeth. Scenes such as a dashing (more than likely American) hero sweeping a stunning English maiden off her feet and preparing for a kiss only to be met by a mouth full of broken, crooked and misshapen teeth is classic film industry humour. Now questions of English teeth hygiene not withstanding it’s blatantly clear that no-one, whatever your nationality, wants protruding or crooked teeth. Who’s to know how this classic Hollywood dental humour emerged, but perhaps if there was a little more information about teeth and gum adjustment readily available it might not have emerged.
A mouth full of metal
Believe it or not tooth adjustment was even contemplated and practiced over 2000 years ago with mummified remains found with metal teeth adjustment bands. Perhaps in many ways the ancients weren’t as concerned with having a mouthful of straight teeth for cosmetic purposes as we are today, but both ancient and modern dentists know the importance of properly aligned teeth for the sake of hygiene. Orthodontics is the dental speciality of correcting irregular teeth to prevent malocclusion, a condition where teeth are crooked or protruding.
Talk like a dental professional
We’re going to get fairly jargon heavy here to show you some of the issues and treatments for these conditions. Aside from averting the stereotypical ‘British mouth’ as Hollywood knows, it there are many oral health and hygiene reasons for proper tooth adjustment. With tooth and related gum reshaping it is hoped that periodontal disease and tooth decay can be avoided. Poor tooth alignment and prominent gums can even result in psychological problems for young people being anxious about their appearance and teased by their peer group. This is how a dentist would see the reasons for adjustment:
- Abnormal jaw size,where teeth are too large to fit into the jaw
- Supernumerary teeth, extra teeth in the mouth can crowd out the normal complement
- Missing or poorly erupted teeth
- Thumb sucking can even cause overbites or increased overjet ( horizontal tooth overlap)
Teeth and gums are complementary
As adjusting teeth is often important for appearances sake; we feel that we have to mention gum reshaping too. As the gums surround and house the teeth ; when disease or bad dental habits occur it can not only impair health but also your appearance. Tooth loss can even eventually occur if gum disease is left untreated. While appearance wise gum recession can overexpose the roots of your teeth resulting in an unsightly ‘long toothed appearance’
A brief introduction to tooth and gum adjustment
There’s a large scope to the treatments on offer that can correct gums and teeth that are starting to deviate from the norm. Here are some of the common ways to correct these specific oral problems:
- Improved oral health, often facilitated by a dental hygienist, can be a good measure to force receding gums to behave. Deep cleaning such as root planing and tooth scaling are often the next step beyond self help.
- As a last resort gum surgery can be used as a corrective procedure. Harmful bacteria can be removed with a ‘pocket depth reduction’ procedure (a CPITN probe is used to measure the desired condition of your gum line). Soft tissue grafts and regenerative procedures can also be used in extreme circumstances.
- If your gums are in excellent condition but corrective tooth straightening is needed then braces (as well as limited extractions in some circumstances) remain to be a fairly standard way of adjustment.
- Orthodontic appliances (braces to the layman) require a great deal of co-operation between the dentist and patients with some corrective procedures lasting up to two years with often continuous use of the dental appliance required.