The Hows and Whys of Orthodontics

Part 1


When considering orthodontic treatment for your child, or indeed yourself, there are a number of points to be taken into consideration:

  • Why do the teeth and jaws become malpositioned and crooked in the first place?
  • Why do I need to be concerned about the position of the teeth and jaws, is it purely cosmetic or can there be more far reaching consequences for the rest of the body?
  • How can these problems be corrected and how long will it take?
  • How much will it cost and how do I pay?
All of the above points must be considered before starting orthodontic treatment.

Why do teeth and jaws develop into malocclusion?

Many studies have been carried out over the last few decades examining the skulls of ancient man from many different parts of the world. Some of the skulls were many thousands of years old, others only a few hundred - barely ticks on the evolutionary clock of human kind.

The skulls from ancient civilisation all showed well-developed broad dental arches well-aligned with the teeth, with the teeth showing little or no decay. All of these excellent mouths were what nature intended. They didn't need dentists in those days!

Initial research carried out by Weston Price in the 1930's, and that of many researchers since, has shown that many of these changes may be due to the change in our diet.

It has been shown that when the natural primitive diet is changed for the more modern, highly refined diet, tooth decay appears almost immediately and, within a couple of generations, the dental arches of many children start to become narrow and the teeth become crooked. So it may seem that malocclusion and tooth decay is a disease of modern civilisation.

How Can Diet Affect the Size and Shape of the Jaws?

One of the most important factors in the development of your child's jaws and teeth are the muscles that we use for chewing, talking, breathing and swallowing. These are called the muscles of mastication. The teeth and jaws take up a position that is in the neutral zone of all these muscles so, if the muscles do not function correctly, then the teeth and jaws will not develop correctly.

The neutral zone is the area where the forces of the lips, cheeks and tongue are all balanced the tongue pushing out and the lips and cheeks pushing in so we find that the muscles act as natural braces.

Where to find us
Based in Argyll, on the West Coast of Scotland, Stewart Wright currently practices two days per week in Oban.