Orthodontics is a type of dentistry focused on the correction of improper bites and tooth irregularity. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, orthodontists make up the largest group of dental specialists. These dental professionals help patients of any age improve tooth and jaw problems and can also assist those who desire merely cosmetic improvements.
Orthodontists specialize in correcting a variety of dental problems. Some of the issues revised by orthodontic procedures include: difficulty chewing, crowding of teeth, missing teeth, speech difficulties, protruding teeth, irregular bite and facial imbalances.
The most common form of orthodontic treatment is the installation of dental braces that help straighten teeth, remove gaps, and correct overbites. Braces are often used in conjunction with other orthodontic appliances such as headgear and expansion appliances to influence the growth of teeth in younger patients. Retainers are often worn to help ensure teeth remain in their new position after braces have been removed. The American Dental Association states that in some cases, orthodontists may choose to use surgery to modify the teeth and jaw.
Clear aligners have a lot of advantages over metal braces—most obviously, they're clear and they're removable. There is a tradeoff, though. Because they aren't attached to the teeth, some movements can be more difficult to achieve than they are with traditional braces.
For this reason, it’s important for you to know the limitations of clear aligners so that you can properly assess whether they can achieve the treatment outcomes that you and your dentist desire. There are two key principles to keep in mind.
For example, when teeth crowd each other there may be tight contacts between them. Tight contacts between teeth are common and exist naturally due to the your dentition. The teeth are so crowded, they press up against each other, and literally put each other under pressure. You can try to relieve this pressure by creating space.
Most teeth will move with a little bit of consistent pressure on them. However, some types of teeth, some movement, and some other factors are more prone to issues than others.
We suggest that children have their first orthodontic consultation no later than 7 years of age. While many people have corrective orthodontic procedures done early in their lives, it is not uncommon for adults and even seniors to undergo orthodontic treatments. Depending on the specific problems of the patient and the methods used to correct them, orthodontic treatments can last as few as six months but may take three years or more to complete in severe cases.
Straight teeth are easier to keep clean and are more effective in biting, chewing, and speaking than teeth with abnormalities. People who have had orthodontic treatments also report having fewer dental complications later in life.