Orthodontists are dentists who have several years of post-dental education who specialize in the study and treatment of malocclusions, or “improper bites”.
Orthodontic treatment can improve a patient’s occlusion (bite) by repositioning teeth and underlying roots, providing support for the crown of the tooth. They can also reduce crowding, and the potential breakage and chipping caused by mal-aligned teeth. Orthodontics can make a person’s smile straighter; which can help avoidlong term damage in the jaw and joints from a misaligned bite.
One of the most common and comprehensive kinds of orthodontics is the use of braces.
Braces are usually metallic or porcelain devices that align and straighten teeth over time. They help position teeth in a cosmetically enhancing way, with careful regard to each individual’s bite. Braces can improve dental health, while at the same time improving a patient’s smile.
Although braces are frequently associated with teens and adolescents, the benefits if orthodontics can be taken advantage of by anyone looking to improve their bite, and their teeth alignment.
Braces can be used to treat and correct crowding, under bites, over bites, deep bites, cross bites and many other conditions. They can be either structural or cosmetic – or both. Orthodontics can help increase width of the palate and/or jaws along with realigning the jaws and teeth together. Occasionally there may be a need to wear a headgear, which prevents certain teeth from moving.
When braces apply pressure to your teeth, the periodontal ligaments, which connects your tooth to bone, stretches on one side and is compressed on the other. This movement has to be done slowly or you run the risk of losing your teeth. This is why braces are commonly worn for approximately two and a half years and adjustments are only made every three or four weeks.By applying constant pressure over time, braces will move your teeth to their optimum positions.
Types of braces
- Traditional metal-wired braces are the most commonly used and are stainless steel, sometimes combined with titanium.
- "Clear" braces are a cosmetic alternative to traditional metal braces that are camouflaged by matching the natural color of your teeth.
- Gold-plated stainless steel braces are often employed for patients allergic to nickel (a basic and important component of stainless steel), but may also be chosen by people who simply prefer the look of gold over the traditional silver-colored braces.
- Lingual braces (Incognito Braces) are bonded to the back of the teeth, making them invisible to other people. Standard braces are cemented onto the front side of the teeth.
- Titanium braces resemble stainless steel braces but are lighter, though just as strong. People with allergies to the nickel in steel often choose titanium braces.
- Progressive, clear removable aligners (Invisalign, Originator, and ClearCorrect) are used to gradually move teeth into their final positions. Aligners are generally not used for complicated orthodontic cases, such as when extractions, jaw surgery, or palate expansion are needed.
The first step is to determine whether you are a good candidate for braces. We then will take any additional x-rays, pictures and molds in order to fully determine the problems and best course of action.
About 2 weeks before the braces are applied, spacers are required to spread apart back teeth in order to allow enough space for the bands.
Each month or two, the braces must be adjusted. This helps shift the teeth into the correct position.
Typical treatment times vary from six months, to two and a half years depending on the complexity and types of problems. Surgery may be required in extreme cases.
In order to avoid the teeth moving back to their original position, retainers should be worn once the treatment with braces is complete.