Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that corrects teeth and jaws that are positioned improperly. Crooked teeth and teeth that do not fit together correctly are harder to keep clean, are at risk of being lost early due to tooth decay and periodontal disease, and cause extra stress on the chewing muscles that can lead to headaches, TMJ syndrome and neck, shoulder and back pain. Teeth that are crooked or not in the right place can also detract from one's appearance. Orthodontic treatment can be done from early childhood to adulthood , depending on the problem. The benefits of orthodontic treatment include a healthier mouth, a more pleasing appearance, and teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime.
A specialist in this field is called an orthodontist. Orthodontists receive three more years of education beyond their basic dental training.
Many different types of appliances, both fixed and removable, are used to help move teeth, retrain muscles and affect the growth of the jaws. These appliances work by placing gentle pressure on the teeth and jaws. The severity of your problem will determine which orthodontic approach is likely to be the most effective.
Fixed appliances (Braces)
The most common fixed appliances, braces consist of bands, wires and/or brackets. Bands are fixed around the teeth or tooth and used as anchors for the appliance, while brackets are most often bonded to the front of the tooth. Arch wires are passed through the brackets and attached to the bands. Tightening the arch wire puts tension on the teeth, gradually moving them to their proper position. Braces are usually adjusted monthly to bring about the desired results, which may be achieved within a few months to a few years.
Today's braces are smaller, lighter and show far less metal than in the past. They come in bright colors for kids as well as clear styles (ceramic braces) preferred by many adults. They can also be placed at the back of the teeth, something which is known as lingual braces. ( Incognito)
Aligners (Invisalign, EON aligners) are an alternative to traditional braces for adults, serial aligners are being used by an increasing number of orthodontists to move teeth in the same way that fixed appliances work, only without metal wires and brackets. Aligners are virtually invisible and are removed for eating, brushing and flossing. Inman aligners , an alternative to brackets, in which a removable plastic device is placed behind the teeth, utilizing steel wires in front of and behind the teeth to move the teeth into position, thus straightening them.