Orthodontics is a traditional discipline of dentistry which involves the straightening and alignment of the jaws and teeth to enhance your smile and overall oral health.
Orthodontists are the dentists who focus on the practice of orthodontics. An orthodontist is often required to take an additional 2 to 3 years of post-dental school education before stepping into the world of authorized practitioners of orthodontics.
Orthodontists diagnoses, treats and prevents the non-alignment of the teeth with the help of metal braces. These metal braces are used to bring lips and teeth into proper alignment, close unsightly gaps, repair an irregular bite, and straighten teeth.
Reasons for undergoing orthodontic treatment includes more aligned teeth, a more pleasing appearance and a healthier mouth that is more likely to last longer.
Who needs an orthodontics treatment?
Overbite, also referred as buck teeth — where the upper front teeth lie too far forward over the lower teeth.
Underbite, often referred as a bulldog appearance — where the lower teeth are too far forward or the upper teeth too far back.
Crossbite — where the jaw doesn’t properly align, and the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth when biting.
Open bite — space between the front upper and lower teeth when the jaw is closed normally.
Misplaced midline — this happens when the center of the upper front teeth doesn’t line up with the center of the lower front teeth.
Spacing — where there are spaces or gaps between teeth because of a missing tooth or teeth that do not “fill up” the mouth.
Crowding — when there is a lack of space between teeth or jaw.
What does it involve?
An orthodontics treatment usually involves a full examination of your teeth. This often includes looking at your teeth, taking x-rays and preparing plaster models of your teeth. Once everything is done, your orthodontist will recommend a treatment to fix your jaw or teeth.
Your orthodontist may recommend you one of the following treatments:
Metal braces, which is one of the most popular fixed appliances used to repair the structure of a patient’s teeth or jaw. Braces usually comprise of brackets, wires and band.
Special fixed appliances, which can be used to restraint tongue thrusting or thumb sucking. Usually bands are used to attach these appliances to the teeth.
Fixed space maintainers, which are used to keep the space open in a baby’s mouth when a tooth is lost prematurely until the permanent tooth emerges.
Aligners are an alternative treatment for repairing the structure of a patient’s teeth where virtually invisible aligners are used to straighten the teeth. These aligners are so comfortable that they can be easily removed for brushing, flossing and eating.
Removable space maintainers are works the same way as that of fixed space maintainers. However, these removable space maintainers are usually made with an acrylic base that smoothly fits over the jaw.
Jaw repositioning appliances, also referred as splints, are placed either the top or lower jaw, and aid in reposition the jaw in the most appropriate position. They may be used for temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).