What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that specialises in diagnosing, preventing and treating oral and facial problems. Common orthodontic treatments include the use of such tools as braces, orthodontic headgear, and removable or functional appliances to move the teeth or jaws into a more ideal position.

While most people consider orthodontics as being only for children and teens, it is actually a branch of dentistry that can help people of all ages. If you’ve ever been ashamed of your crooked teeth or gaps between them, an orthodontist could help give you the smile you’ve always wanted.

Misaligned teeth can suffer from wear and tear quicker than those that align properly. Jaws that don’t line up properly can cause discomfort.

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Common Orthodontic Problems

Some of the most common orthodontic problems include overbite, protruding teeth, overlapping or crooked teeth and under bite. These problems aren’t just unsightly; they can lead to serious problems with your teeth and gums because they make it difficult to clean and care for your teeth properly. There can also be impacts on your jaw joints. Your dentist may refer to your orthodontic problem as a malocclusion, which is the technical term for teeth that are crooked, protrude too far or otherwise don’t fit properly in your mouth.

Benefits of Orthodontic Treatments

Orthodontics can provide a beautiful smile, but the benefits go far beyond cosmetic ones.

  • Your teeth will be easier to keep clean if they are aligned correctly.
  • Poorly aligned teeth can lead to speech impediments. Orthodontic treatments can position your teeth in an optimal position for clear speech.
  • Alleviating jaw pain caused by or aggravated by poor alignment of the teeth.
  • A beautiful smile can boost confidence and self-esteem in both young people and adults.

Types of Orthodontic Treatments

Braces are the most common type of orthodontic treatment, and they can be used in both children and adults. They involve tiny metal brackets which are attached to individual teeth with wires are attached to each bracket, providing constant pressure to gently realign teeth over time, usually 18-24 months.

Elastics are small rubber bands that can also be used with braces to apply additional force in order to move the teeth.

A plate is a device that can be inserted and removed by the wearer. It is a piece of orthodontic equipment that sits in the mouth and applies pressure to the teeth using wire and springs.

Clear aligners (Invisalign) can sometimes be used in place of braces to position teeth. These are popular among adults and teens who are self-conscious about the look of traditional braces.

Once the teeth are aligned correctly, a retainer is used to keep them from shifting back to their original placement.

Orthodontics for all ages

If you needed orthodontic treatment when you were younger, but didn’t get it, it may not be too late to have treatment. Your dentist can assess whether your teeth and gums are healthy enough for treatment, and your orthodontist can help you gain the smile that you’ve always wanted.

If your child needs orthodontic care, early intervention can mean healthier teeth and a more confident smile that they’ll be happy to show off. Most orthodontists recommend starting any treatment as soon as the last baby tooth has been shed. However sometimes starting treatment early may minimise the work required.

Orthodontics plays a big role in giving you the smile you want and the healthy teeth that you deserve. Speak with your dentist about whether orthodontic treatments could help you or your child get a beautiful smile and healthier mouth.

Contact Centre Street Dental today and see how we can help you.