Study: Orthodontic treatment doesn’t guarantee future oral health
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Orthodontic treatment can straighten your teeth, but it can’t protect those choppers from developing tooth decay in the future. When polled, many people think that orthodontic treatment will prevent future tooth decay. But new research out of the University of Adelaide in South Australia has found that this is not the case.
Published in the journal Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, the study, conducted by Dr. Esma J. Dogramaci and co-author Professor David Brennan from the University's Adelaide Dental School, assessed the long-term dental health of 448 people from South Australia.
"The study found that people who had orthodontic treatment did not have better dental health later in life," says Dr. Dogramaci. "Patients often complain about their crooked teeth and want braces to make their teeth straight so they can avoid problems, like decay, in the future."
The study, which followed people from the age of 13 until they were 30, recorded patients' dental health behaviors and the number of decayed, missing or filled teeth over that period of time.
The cost of orthodontic treatment, in which crooked teeth are realigned using braces worn over several years, varies according to the severity of the problem and whether braces are placed on one arch or both and what materials are used.
The average price tag in America for braces? Anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000, according to the American Association of Orthodontics, depending on the factors named above.
Braces have typically been a teenage rite of passage. But they are becoming increasingly popular in the adult population, with one in five patients being adults. The global orthodontics market is predicted to be worth more than $6 billion by 2023.
"Evidence from the research clearly shows that people cannot avoid regularly brushing their teeth, good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups to prevent decay in later life," says Dr. Dogramaci. "Having your teeth straightened does not prevent tooth decay in later life."
The research was carried out by the Adelaide Dental School, and the Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health (ARCOPH), the University of Adelaide.
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