What Is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that corrects badly positioned teeth and jaws. Crooked teeth and teeth that do not fit together properly are more difficult to keep clean, risk losing early due to tooth decay and periodontal disease, and cause additional stress on the chewing muscles which can cause headaches, TMJ, and neck syndrome, shoulder and back pain. Teeth that are crooked or not in the right place can also affect appearance.
Benefits of orthodontic include a healthier mouth, a more pleasing appearance, and teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime.
A specialist in this area is called an orthodontist. Orthodontists receive two or more years of training beyond their four years in dental school in an ADA approved orthodontic training program.
How do I Know if I Need Orthodontics?
Only your dentist or orthodontist can determine if you can benefit from orthodontics. Based on diagnostic tools that include a complete medical and dental history, physical examination, plaster models of your teeth, x-rays, and special photographs, an orthodontist or dentist can decide whether orthodontics is recommended and develop an appropriate treatment plan. for you.
If you have any of the following, you may be a candidate for orthodontic treatment:
- Overbite, sometimes called “buck teeth” – where the upper front teeth are too far forward (protrude) over the lower teeth.
- Underbite – a “bulldog” appearance where the lower teeth are too far forward or the upper teeth too far back.
- Crossbite – when the upper teeth do not descend slightly in front of the lower teeth during a normal bite.
- Open bite – space between the biting surfaces of the front and / or side teeth when the rear teeth bite together.
- Misplaced midline – when the center of your upper front teeth does not line up with the center of your lower front teeth.
- Spacing – spaces or spaces between teeth as a result of missing teeth or teeth that do not “fill” the mouth.
- Crowding – when there are too many teeth for the dental crest to adapt
How Does Orthodontic Treatment Work?
Many types of devices, fixed and removable, are used to help move the teeth, recycle the muscles, and affect the growth of the jaws. These devices work by exerting light pressure on the teeth and jaws.
The severity of your problem will determine which orthodontic approach is likely to be most effective.
Fixed Appliances Include:
Braces — The most common fixed devices, the braces consist of strips, wires, and/or supports. The bands are fixed around the teeth or the tooth and used as anchors for the device, while the supports are most often glued to the front of the tooth. The arcs are passed through the supports and attached to the bands.
Tightening the arch puts tension on the teeth, gradually moving them to their correct position. Braces are usually adjusted monthly to achieve the desired results,
which can be achieved in a few months to a few years. Today’s orthodontic appliances are smaller, lighter, and have far less metal than in the past.
They come in bright colors for children as well as light styles preferred by many adults.
Special Fixed Appliances — Used to control thumb sucking or tongue pushing, these devices are attached to the teeth by bands.
Because they are very uncomfortable during meals, they should only be used as a last resort.
Fixed space maintainers — If a baby tooth is lost prematurely, a space maintainer is used to keep the space open until the permanent tooth breaks out.
A band is attached to the tooth next to the empty space and a wire is extended to the tooth on the other side of the space.
Removable Appliances Include:
Aligners — An Alternative to traditional orthodontic appliances for adults, serial aligners are used by a growing number of orthodontists to move teeth in the same way as fixed appliances work, only without wires and metal supports. The aligners are almost invisible and are removed for eating, brushing your teeth, and flossing.
Removable space maintainers — These devices perform the same function as fixed space maintainers. They are made with an acrylic base that fits on the jaw and has plastic or wire branches between the specific teeth to keep the space between them open.
Jaw repositioning appliances — Also called splints, these devices are worn on the upper or lower jaw and help cause the jaw to close in a more favorable position. They can be used for disorders of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
Lip and Cheek B Umpers — these are designed to keep the lips or cheeks away from the teeth. The muscles of the lips and cheeks can put pressure on the teeth, and these bumpers help relieve this pressure.
Palatal Expander — A device used to widen the arch of the upper jaw. It is a plastic plate that fits over the roof of the mouth. The outward pressure applied to
the plate by screws forces the joints of the palate bones to open lengthwise, widening the palatal area.
Removable Retainers — worn on the roof of the mouth, these devices prevent the teeth from moving to their previous position. They can also be modified and used
to prevent thumb sucking.
Headgear — With this device, a strap is placed around the back of the head and attached to a wire at the front, or to the facebow. The headgear slows the growth
of the upper jaw and keeps the back teeth where they are while the front teeth are pulled back.