Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that is used to diagnose and correct malpositioned teeth and jaws and treat misaligned bite problems. Abnormal alignment of jaws and teeth are common.
Types of orthodontic treatments available.
Depending on the severity of the situation, your orthodontist would advise you a fixed or a removable appliance.
Fixed appliance – Braces: You must have heard the term ‘ braces’ – which is a commonly used fixed appliance consisting of bands, wires and brackets.
How do braces work?
Brackets are placed on the front side of your teeth. Bands ( anchors) are placed around your tooth. Wires (arch) connect the brackets to the bands. By tightening the arch wires , it puts pressure on your teeth and thereby allowing your teeth to slowly move into position. Braces are usually adjusted every month and typically worn from a few months to few years.
Fixed space maintainers – Sometimes young children might lose their teeth too early . Hence an orthodontist might place a space maintainer in your child’s mouth to keep the space open for the eruption of the permanent teeth.
Self ligating braces – Self ligating braces are very similar to conventional braces with one notable exception ie: the ligatures. There are no rubber bands, elastics or metal ties around your teeth as they are not needed for the appliances effectiveness. This design uses special clips on the brackets that helps the archwire move your teeth into place. These clips allow greater freedom of movement thus reducing the discomfort brought by conventional ligature wires. Self ligating braces are much easier on your teeth and can reduce the amount of pressure and friction for the patients who wear them. Another major advantage is that as a patient you could spend less time at the clinic and we could even space out your visits.
These kind of removable appliance are increasingly becoming popular- especially among young adults than the traditional braces. Aligners move teeth exactly the same way some braces do but they are completely invisible and do not involve any wire or brackets.
Removable space maintainers – These work exactly the same manner as the fixed space maintainers. The space maintainers are made up of plastic or wire branches and an acrylic base that fits in the jaw.
Jaw repositioning appliances – These appliances are commonly referred to as splints and are placed in the top or lower jaws and commonly used to treat TMJ disorders.
Lip and cheek bumpers – Lip and cheek muscles might exert pressure on your teeth, in such cases it is advised to use bumpers for lips and cheeks.
Palatal expander – This is a plastic plate device that is fitted in the roof of the mouth and is used when the upper jaw needs to be widened.
Removable retainers – These devices are worn on the roof of the mouth and prevents the teeth shifting back to its original position.
How do I know if I need orthodontic treatment?
We provide a complete orthodontic assessment when you visit us. With the help of your teeth models and xrays we can provide a treatment plan that works for you and your teeth.
Overbite : the upper front teeth tend to protrude over the lower teeth.
Cross bite : the upper teeth is placed behind the lower teeth
Open bite : some people have a straight gap between the front lower and the upper teeth when biting down
Misplaced midline: the middle of your upper and lower front teeth don’t line up.
Spacing: sometimes there appears random gaps or spacing between your upper and lower front teeth
Crowding: the upper and lower ridge in your mouth is not able to accommodate your teeth
There is a lot to consider while looking at a suitable orthodontic treatment plan. By understanding the problem and the solution, you can experience the benefits for yourself.
Orthodontic treatment uses different appliances that can slowly move the teeth in place , retrain the muscles that affect your jaws’s growth by applying gentle pressure on your jaws and teeth.
Orthodontic treatment is not just for straightening your teeth but it also provides a solution to malpositioned teeth to aid easy access to brushing and thus producing an aesthetically pleasing smile. Malaligned teeth can also cause problems related to chewing , constant headaches, shoulder pain and even temporomandibular joint problems.