Jaws closed tightly and teeth grinding loudly. They are among the signs of how these times seem to be trying our patience more and more. Men and women may release tension through potentially harmful mouth movements because of the stressful situations they constantly find themselves in. Adults who clench their jaws and grind their teeth while asleep are trying to release tension through a condition known as bruxism. The side effects of clicking jaw joints, a relatively common neuromuscular problem nowadays, include ear pain and headaches among others.

The ratio of women over 40 and men over 40 who are prone to bruxism is four to one, studies show. For men, stomach problems are the signs of tension, while for women, it's usually problems in the mouth. The cure for the problem is not orthodontics because the only way to effect a cure is to deal with the frustrations that cause the tension, but to prevent damage to teeth temporarily, plastic retainers or jaw straps while asleep are advised.

Bruxism as well as many other dental problems is among the present concerns that orthodontists have come to have. For several years already, straightening teeth for cosmetic reasons has changed from being the sole goal of orthodontics. Nowadays, there are new methods and theories involving the whole facial structure.

Although orthodontics is often thought of as an area of dentistry that deals primarily with adolescent problems, it also relates well with many adults. 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.

The advances in the combination of orthodontics and plastic surgery make reconstruction of deformities possible, he said. About 66 percent of the orthodontic cases treated each year have something to do with problems involving the growth of the jaw. The position of the teeth is dictated by the position of the jaw. In a lot of cases, you just need to place the jaw at the correct position, and the teeth will just follow. Restructuring through surgery and the use of corrective appliances are two possible options to guide the underdeveloped jaw to proper growth.

Orthodontics, while optional, may be very useful as a preventive procedure. A child who sucks his or her thumb would develop something called an improper tongue thrust, which could possibly lead to deviant swallowing and speech impediment. Changes in the position of teeth may be because of the tongue, a very powerful muscle.

Abnormal bite can be corrected if chinstraps are worn, because these things provide upward and downward forces directed toward the lower jaw. Bad bite would usually result in tooth loss or damage of the bone. Through the improvement of materials used in creating dental devices, improvements have been made in the cosmetic aspect of dental devices. The effective metal braces often loses to plastic when discussing aesthetics, but in terms of effectivity, the former wins.

Now being utilized more frequently in the area of orthodontics is the device known as the laminagraph, which is a radiography apparatus. About a sixth of the total amount of radiation required for conventioanl full mouth Xray is employed by the laminagraph, and it can take an Xray of the whole dentofacial region in a single shot. Laminagraphy does not supersede individual X rays to locate decay, but it has become useful as a broader diagnostic tool.

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