The ABC of dental care: Show me your dental occlusion and I’ll tell you how healthy your teeth are

Our expert – doctor Leonīds Veļkovičs (Dental health care centre „Brīvības, 103“. Tel.: 67379889, 29249165). In the previous issues we discussed the fact that the probability of caries and periodontitis on clean and smooth teeth is much lower than on imperfect surfaces, because the germs have nowhere to hide. The same holds true for tooth rows. They should be even, and the alignment and relation between the teeth of the two dental arches or bite (occlusion) should be correct. The western way of life is often criticized for many things, but never for lack of diligence or assiduity. Any American understands that by investing money in a simpler treatment today one can protect oneself from much graver problems in the future. It would be a mistake to think that the trademark of almost all foreigners – a shiny pearly white smile – is nothing else but the fruits of a prosthodontist’s labour. It isn’t. Simply, strategically thinking people make it their priority to do everything in good time – and namely, instead of visiting their dentist when their teeth are already aching they get advice on preventive basis so that such a situation is never allowed to occur. For example, Americans know very well that when seven-year-olds or eight-year-olds grow new teeth they should visit an orthodontist – a specialist who corrects dental malocclusion. Unfortunately, every third or fourth person in the world suffers from one or other type of dental malocclusion. What consequences can it cause? In case of malocclusion the load on individual teeth or groups of teeth reaches critical threshold finally leading to tooth decay or even loss. The majority if not all dental problems are caused by some degree of malocclusion. It can and should be corrected not only in childhood, but also in later years. What methods do orthodontists use? By means of various types of appliances they move the affected teeth to positions corresponding to ideal tooth rows and correct jaw relationship. There are different types of such appliances. The fashionable and popular braces are just one of them. Their characteristic feature is that the mechanism itself – the archwire with holders – is glued onto the tooth enamel by means of special glue with anti-caries agents, because during treatment with braces oral hygiene is doubly important, since toothbrushing becomes more complicated. On the other hand, it offers a good opportunity to emphasize one’s individuality by decorating one’s teeth with special stones, rhinestones, crystals and designs. Removable appliances are equally popular and effective. However, installing braces or plates is just half of the work. If you have decided to achieve an ideal dental occlusion, be disciplined, because it may take one to three years to complete the process. The desired result can only be achieved if you are determined, trust your doctor and observe regular visits. As a result of all these efforts you get an excellent appearance and protection from many unwelcome problems in the future. IN THE NEXT ISSUE: Most popular types of dentures