p14 Arrangement of teeth.

The arrangement of the natural teeth must be one of personal taste.

Thirty years ago, many people had orthodontically-corrected teeth. Many others, like me, did not. My top teeth are fairly 'straight and even'. My lower teeth are a nightmare arrangement! That open-mouthed grizzly on page4 has a much straighter lower set than mine - and his aren't great! But they are all my own teeth.

Badly misaligned teeth are hard to clean efficiently. But there is no problem here with slighly out-of-line teeth.

The present vogue is for as many people as possible to have straight and even teeth. The implication is then that if you do not have straightened teeth, it is because you are unable to afford the treatment. That's not very fair, is it? Perhaps you would like to look different from everybody else.

Nowadays people get all sorts of metalwork attached to their bodies to look different. In fact, as the world gets fuller, more and more people will wish to do things to themselves to look different.

Orthodontics - the business of re-arranging teeth - is interesting to do. It can dramatically improve an appearance of a person's head and face. In so doing, it can give that person an enormous boost to personal confidence and feeling of well-being.

Things I have been able to do to to some peoples' teeth in the past still amaze even me. But I feel that the most important advancement in orthodontics to date is the upward extension in age that is possible for successful re-arrangement of teeth.

Amost anyone now, of any age, provided the bone is in good enough condition, can have orthodontics.  

There are, of course, better times to do certain jobs and many young people have their teeth re-aligned during their main growth period in their early teens - it's easier to use this period because the teeth can be moved faster.

Styles change, though.

Twenty-five years ago, patients would request removal of their few remaining teeth so that the replacing denture would give them that nice, even smile.

Fifteen years ago, many denture-wearers were paying more for their new dentures simply to have the front teeth put out-of-line to make them look more natural!

Now I can incorporate specially-made tinted acrylics to make the gum bit as nearly like natural gum as possible.

So where next with orthodontics?

 I think I can see into the future here - I think that with the use of computers and advanced photographic imaging there will be a very different type of orthodontics soon.

Look through past issues of National Geographic to look at the enormous variety of tooth arrangement in people. Look at how some perfect arrangements of teeth would look totally inappropriate in some people in the world.

There are so many different face/skull/body frame shapes to which the arrangement of teeth must adhere.

Loss of one or two teeth - does it matter?

You could have figured any of the following out yourself. Prove my mental arithmetic to be not as good as your calculators!

You start with about 32 teeth - there are variations to this but the principle is the same. (There's more too about 'evolutionary things' in 'For the more thoughtful' in page3.)

If you lose 1 tooth, you've lost 1 out of 32 - that's about 3% of eating capacity, isn't it? But is it? Is that all? Not really. The tooth on the opposing jaw now isn't biting on anything, so its chewing/grinding effect is lost too.

So that's 2 out of 32 (about 6.5%).

Just because you've lost this eating power, I don't suppose that you are going to eat any less, are you? The remaining teeth are going to have to work harder - not just for a few months but for ever! How much harder? You mathematics or arithmetic experts can work this out - I make it that they will have to work at about 113% efficiency. They might cope with this.

But if another tooth is lost here and another there, the remaining teeth are now working 50% harder! They did not evolve to do all this extra work - visit that 'more thoughtful' bit again in page3 - they will be lost early, the rest collapse, TTL is inevitable.

So the very first tooth which is in trouble needs to be kept wherever posssible to help the others. If it is lost it needs to be replaced with something just as good.

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