Orthodontics is a special branch of dental therapy associated with diagnosis and treatment of deformities related to the teeth, face and jaws. Individuals trained to correct these problems are called orthodontists. Orthodontists help in improving the function of teeth, maintaining good dental health and providing aesthetic appeal to your smile. Orthodontic therapy can be successfully provided to individuals of any age.
A variety of dental problems can be resolved with orthodontic treatment. They include:
- Overcrowding of teeth
- Misalignment of the dental arches
- Bite correction (overbite; protruding upper jaw and underbite; protruding lower jaw)
- Cosmetic related dental issues
- Dental therapies such as application of crowns, bridges or implants
- Problems with tooth eruption and displacement
- Teeth spacing or gaps between teeth
To decide if you need orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist will enquire about your complete dental medical history, conduct a clinical examination and order X-rays or photographs of your oral cavity. Based on the need, your dentist will then recommend a suitable treatment plan.
Orthodontic treatment includes different types of appliances which can be fixed for a certain period or removed daily. Your orthodontic specialist will suggest specific treatment based on the severity of your situation.
Treatments with fixed appliances include:
- Braces for teeth positioning
- Special fixed appliances to control thumb sucking
- Space maintainers to keeps the space of a missing tooth open until the permanent tooth erupts
Treatments with removable appliances include:
- Aligners, an alternative for braces
- Removable space maintainers
- Jaw repositioning to the jaws to close in proper position
- Lip and cheek bumpers to keeps lips and cheeks away from the teeth
- Palatal expander widens the arch of the upper jaw
- Retainers prevent teeth returning to previous position
- Headgear prevents growth of upper jaw and pulls back the front teeth