Orthodontics is one of many dental specialties. Orthodontics is specifically concerned with diagnosing and treating tooth misalignment and irregularity in the jaw area. Initially, orthodontic treatments were geared toward the treatment of teens and pre-teens, but these days around 30 percent of orthodontic patients are adults. There are many advantages to well-aligned teeth, including easier cleaning, better oral hygiene, clearer speech, and a more pleasant smile. Though orthodontic treatment can be effective at any age, the American Dental Association suggests that an orthodontic assessment should be performed around the age of seven. The earlier orthodontic treatment begins, the more quickly the problem can be successfully resolved.
The discrepancy between two closed jaws is known as an anteroposterior deviation, for example, an overbite (the upper teeth are further forward than the lower teeth), or an underbite.
Overcrowding is a common orthodontic problem. It occurs when there is an insufficient space for the normal growth and development of adult teeth.
Crooked teeth can be realigned by an orthodontist. Alternatively, orthodontists can also work to reshape and restructure the lips, jaw, or face.
The orthodontist will generally perform a visual examination, panoramic X-rays, and study models (bite impressions) in order to assess the root cause. When a diagnosis has been made, there are a variety of orthodontic treatment options available.
A metal or ceramic dental base is affixed to each tooth, and a dental wire is inserted through each base. When the desired results are achieved, the fixed dental braces are completely removed.
There are a wide range of removable appliances commonly used in orthodontics, including headgear that correct overbites, Hawley retainers that improve the position of the teeth even as the jawbone reforms, and facemasks which are used to correct an underbite.
This is a newer, removable type of dental aligner that is completely transparent. Invisalign® does not interfere with eating because of its removable nature, and mechanically works in the same way as the traditional metal dental braces. Not all patients are candidates for Invisalign®.