Healthy teeth and a bright smile can make individuals look and feel their best. However, most patients do not naturally develop straight teeth and aligned jaws and require the help of a skilled orthodontist.
What Is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a dental specialty that focuses on repositioning teeth and jaws. This practice helps to improve a patient’s appearance and prevent gum disease, tooth decay and loss, and TMJ pain.
Additionally, orthodontics significantly increases the likelihood that your adult teeth will be functional and attractive over the course of your lifetime.
What Conditions Can Be Treated with Orthodontics?
Patients that have an overbite, underbite, open bite, teeth crowding, or teeth spacing can all benefit from an orthodontic treatment.
How Does an Orthodontist Correct Teeth and Jaw Conditions?
Orthodontists use fixed and removable appliances to put light pressure on teeth and jaws to facilitate movement and desired changes.
Fixed appliances remain in the mouth at all times and removable appliances can be taken out for eating, brushing, and flossing.
Braces and Other Fixed Appliances
Braces are the most well-known fixed appliance and consist of bands, brackets, and wires. Bands serve as anchors that wrap around the teeth, brackets adhere to the front of the teeth, and wires are connected to brackets and anchors.
The tension of the wires is altered, over a period of several months to years, in order to straighten the teeth and draw the jaw into place.
Other fixed appliances are used to reduce thumb sucking and tongue thrusting and to maintain space between teeth.
Aligners correct the teeth and jaw in a similar manner to braces, except that they are invisible and can be removed by the patient as needed.
Additionally, splints help to reposition the jaw to alleviate TMJ discomfort, and removable retainers are worn on the roof of the mouth to prevent teeth from shifting after braces.
Headgear is another removable appliance that is often used at night to inhibit growth of the upper jaw. It also keeps back teeth in place, while pulling front teeth in.
To learn more about improving your smile with orthodontics, please call Soft Touch Dentists today to schedule an appointment.