What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that corrects teeth and jaws that are positioned improperly.
Crooked teeth and teeth that do not fit together correctly are harder to keep clean, are at risk of being lost early due to tooth decay and periodontal disease, and cause extra stress on the chewing muscles that can lead to headaches, TMJ syndrome and neck, shoulder and back pain. Teeth that are crooked or not in the right place can also detract from one's appearance.
The benefits of orthodontic treatment include a healthier mouth, a more pleasing appearance, and teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime.
A specialist in this field is called an orthodontist. Orthodontists receive two or more years of education 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 whether you can benefit from orthodontics. Based on diagnostic tools that include a full medical and dental health history, a clinical exam, plaster models of your teeth, and special X-rays and photographs, an orthodontist or dentist can decide whether orthodontics are recommended, and develop a treatment plan that's right 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 lie too far forward (stick out) 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 come down slightly in front of the lower teeth when biting together normally
• Open bite — space between the biting surfaces of the front and/or side teeth when the back 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 — gaps, or spaces, between the teeth as a result of missing teeth or teeth that do not "fill up" the mouth
• Crowding — when there are too many teeth for the dental ridge to accommodate
How Does Orthodontic Treatment Work?
Many different types of appliances, both fixed and removable, are used to help move teeth, retrain muscles and affect the growth of the jaws. These appliances work by placing gentle pressure on the teeth and jaws. The severity of your problem will determine which orthodontic approach is likely to be the most effective.
What care is recommended during orthodontic treatment?
As with any dental treatment, the more a child cooperates, the better the results. First, careful brushing and flossing keep the appliance and your child's health in top shape. (Removable appliances should be brushed each time the teeth are brushed.) Second, regular dental check-ups -- besides orthodontic appointments -- protect your child from tooth decay and gum disease. Third, prompt contact with your pediatric dentist when an appliance breaks will keep orthodontic treatment on-time and on-track.
EARLY ORTHODONTİC TREATMENTS
It's never too early to keep an eye on your child's oral development. Your pediatric dentist can identify malocclusion -- crowded or crooked teeth or bite problems -- and actively intervene to guide the teeth as they emerge in the mouth.Orthodontic treatment early can prevent more extensive treatment later.
What causes crowded teeth and other orthodontic problems?
A: Malocclusion is often inherited. Orthodontic problems also are caused by dental injuries, the early loss of primary teeth or such habits a thumb sucking, fingernail biting, or lip biting. Your pediatric dentist can help your child avoid oral habits that may create orthodontic problems.
Why is early orthodontic care important?
A: Early orthodontics can enhance your child's smile, but the benefits far surpass appearance. Pediatric orthodontics can straighten crooked teeth, guide erupting teeth into position, correct bite problems, even prevent the need for tooth extractions. Straight teeth are easier to keep clean and less susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease.
What is early orthodontic treatment like?
A: Different orthodontic appliances work in different ways to benefit your child's dental health. Some are fixed; others are removable. Your pediatric dentist will explain which appliance is best for your child, what the treatment can do, and how long it will take.
The number of adults choosing orthodontics is on the rise. In fact, today one out of every four orthodontic patients is an adult.
Regardless of a person's age, orthodontic treatment is usually a change for the better. The mechanics involved in the movement of teeth are essentially the same in adults as in children. Gaps between teeth, crowding, protruding front teeth and teeth in abnormal positions are problems that may be corrected in the adult by orthodontic treatment. However, because an adult's facial bones are no longer growing, certain conditions cannot be resolved with braces alone. Sometimes, surgery is required to obtain the correct result. The health of teeth, gums and supporting bone, as well as jaw relationships, are key factors in determining the prospects of improving one's appearance through orthodontic treatment.
Contrary to popular belief, wearing braces will not interfere with an adult lifestyle. Patients can make business presentations, sing, play a musical instrument, dine out-and, of course, kiss! The biggest inconvenience, generally, is working regular visits to the orthodontist into an adult's busy schedule.
ORTHODONTICS AND ITS ROLE IN TREATING HEALTH PROBLEMS
Health concerns are often the primary consideration for adult treatment. Crooked teeth and bad bites may seriously affect oral health. Orthodontic treatment might help prevent many serious potential problems such as tooth decay, gum disease and eventual tooth loss.
One of the most prevalent adult orthodontic problems is teeth that are too crowded. These teeth are extremely difficult to clean, making them more prone to decay, even if good oral hygiene is practiced. Conversely, spaces can also be a problem, especially if the early loss or extraction of teeth causes healthy teeth to tip into open spaces. Deterioration of the supporting bone may occur, causing teeth to become loose.
Protruding front teeth, in addition to being unattractive, do not meet properly during chewing. This can cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, as well as excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissue. The stress on supporting tissues might contribute to gum disease and possibly lead to the loss of teeth.
Orthodontic problems are not always confined to the mouth. Disorders of the temporomandibular joints, which connect the lower jaw to the skull, may be one of the reasons why millions of people suffer from chronic headaches, earaches and facial pain. Though temporomandibular disorders (TMD) may have a variety of causes, treatment sometimes may include procedures performed by an orthodontist.