A Professor of Orthodontics at the University of Lagos, Professor Oluwatosin Sanu, has affirmed that, beyond the smile, the real objective of a patient opting for a dental braces’ treatment is the restoration of a much healthier life.
She made the assertion at the delivery of her Inaugural Lecture on Wednesday, January 11, 2023, at the J.F. Ade-Ajayi Auditorium.
With her lecture titled, Beyond the Smile – Braces and Health: What has Braces Got to do with Health? the first female President of the National Association of Orthodontists (NAO) alerted the audience about the silent epidemic of mis-aligned (crooked or crowded) teeth and bad bite (or malocclusion).
“Misaligned teeth and malocclusion have become prevalent in all social classes in our population. It is one of the three major oral diseases that affect human oral function, aesthetics, social interactions, health-related quality of life and general health”, she said.
She identified a wide range of serious negative impacts on the quality of life that untreated malocclusion can cause a patient, including: pain, speech impediment, chronic headaches, temporomandibular joint dysfunction.
Her words: “It can affect mental health and self-esteem, with profound physical and psychosocial effects, to the extent that the daily activities of an individual, like eating, swallowing, talking, going to school and work, are adversely affected. The avoidance of these unpalatable effects are key motives for patients seeking to use braces to straighten the teeth and correct the bite”.
“Though straighter teeth are considered attractive and visually pleasing, beyond the smile, however, is the promotion of the overall health of the individual while correcting the wide array of malocclusion. By promoting overall health, the quality of life is improved”.
Professor Sanu reeled out a plethora of health benefits associated with using braces. Some of these include: better speech, improved digestion, and overall improvement in the overall oral, physical, emotional, and mental health of the individual.
“A person’s possession of these benefits can impact their mental and emotional capacity to perform in life’s big moments such as a pivotal job interview, a first date or making the choice of a life partner. They have the capacity to even save a whole life.
In essence, there is a link between braces, oral, and overall total health; and that shows, in a very instructive manner, that the role of Orthodontists in the oral and overall general health of an individual cannot be overemphasized”, she submitted to the rousing applause of the audience.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, FAS, presided over the lecture. She was flanked by the full complement of the Management staff.
Friends and Family of the Inaugural Lecturer, as well as colleagues from across the university were also present.