The branch of orthodontics deals with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of irregularities with the bite and alignment of one’s teeth. People of all ages can benefit from orthodontic treatments.
Misaligned teeth and bad bites (malocclusions) can impact the way you speak and chew, andcan alter the symmetry of your face. Severe cases of malocclusion can also lead to TMJ disorders, periodontal disease, tooth decay and digestive difficulties. Timely orthodontic treatment can help one avoid these problems.
Orthodontics can treat a variety of dental problems. Some of these are:
- Crowded Teeth – Crowding of teeth in the mouth means there is insufficient space for all the adult teeth to fit in the jaw. Such a condition can cause misalignment, rotation or displacement of the teeth.
- Underbite (negative underjet): This condition is known to occur when the lower jaw protrudes over the upper jaw, causing the chin to look prominent. Underbites are caused by genetic factors and developmental delays.
- Overbite – An overbite occurs when the upper jaw protrudes over the lower one, giving a person a toothy appearance and making the chin appear to be receded.
Orthodontic treatments help in revitalizing your smile by fixing the alignment of your teeth and bite. Depending upon your condition, several orthodontic treatments can be used to correct your smile. One of the most popular and widely used orthodontic treatment is fixed dental braces. These consist of brackets made of metal or ceramic which are attached to each tooth. An archwire in the braces does the work of gradually shifting the teeth. Apart from traditional braces, other forms of orthodontic appliances include invisible braces, removable headgear, palate expanders and faceguards.
Once braces have been removed, the retention phase of orthodontic treatment begins. This ensures that the teeth do not regress into their old positions. A retainer is an appliance worn to maintain the new position of the teeth. It could be fixed or removable and is custom made according to the patient’s needs. Depending upon a patient’s age and the duration of orthodontic treatment, a retainer may need to be worn for varying amounts of time.
Orthodontic space maintainers, or spacers are made of elastics and bands and are used to keep teeth in their proper position. Once a tooth is lost, the other remaining teeth tend to shift into the space created by it. Spacers are used to prevent this. They are generally placed on kid’s teeth once a baby tooth is lost to help keep the incoming teeth grow in their proper position and to avoid future dental problems.
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