Orthodontics is a specialty discipline of dentistry that focuses on alignment of the teeth and jaws to improve a person’s smile and oral health. Crooked teeth that do not fit together correctly are harder to keep clean and are at risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
Having straight teeth is important. Teeth that are crooked or out of place (misaligned) affect the way a person chews and talks and how their smile looks. (Severe Malocclusion)
Because they have unnatural spaces, crooked teeth are harder to clean and are more likely to have cavities.
In some cases, crooked teeth can affect the way the jaws line up and can cause pain and discomfort.
One method to correct this is to have Orthodontic treatment (or braces and retainers as they are sometimes called).
Orthodontic treatment works by exerting a gentle pressure over time to straighten teeth that are growing, or have already grown, out of place.
Braces have three basic parts:
1) Brackets – brackets that are attached to each tooth
2) Bonding or band – the material that attaches the bracket to the tooth
3) Arch Wire – a thin metal wire that runs from bracket to bracket
Braces have come a long way from the “train track” look of years ago. Today, many orthodontic patients can get braces that attach to the backs of the teeth, or use transparent brackets.
A retainer is a custom-made, removable appliance that helps keep teeth in their new, straightened position after braces have been removed. Retainers can also be used to treat more minor orthodontic problems.
Types of braces
- Metal Braces – These are traditional braces most often seen in children and teenagers. Metal braces are the most affordable and use a system of brackets and wires to move the teeth over time.
- Invisalign – This modern orthodontic treatment is highly popular among adults who want to straighten their smiles discreetly. Invisalign orthodontics is a system of customized plastic trays that are worn day and night, with the exception of when a patient is eating, brushing and flossing.The invisible trays are switched out every couple of weeks until a desirable result is achieved.
- Lingual braces are placed behind the teeth (by the tongue and palate), rather than in front, and therefore offer a great cosmetic alternative for those who want their teeth straightened, without the braces showing.
The process for lingual braces involves taking an impression of the teeth, which is then sent to a dental laboratory and used to create customized brackets. The process takes about six weeks and, once complete, allows the orthodontist to use a specific process to cement the braces onto the back surfaces of your teeth.
Like traditional braces, this product works by applying gentle yet continuous pressure on the teeth, to help them slowly shift into proper position. The treatment can take anywhere from 18-36 months, depending on the severity of a patient’s overcrowding of teeth or their bite.
- Ceramic braces are the same size like metal braces except that they have a tooth color or clear braces that blend in to teeth.Because of their material composition, ceramic braces are more fragile and they require a bit more care than traditional metal braces. Ceramic braces are permanent in your mouth for the length of your treatment.Ceramic Braces – These braces work like traditional metal braces, except that the brackets bonded to the teeth are made of ceramic. This helps prevent staining, and they can also be color-matched to blend with the teeth.