Orthodontics




What is orthodontics?

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. 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 two or more years of education beyond their four years in dental school in an ADA-approved orthodontic training program.

How do I Know if I Need Orthodontics?

Only your dentist or orthodontist can determine whether you can benefit from orthodontics. Based on diagnostic tools that include a full medical and dental health history, a clinical exam, plaster models of your teeth, and special X-rays and photographs, an orthodontist or dentist can decide whether orthodontics are recommended, and develop a treatment plan that's right for you. If you have any of the following, you may be a candidate for orthodontic treatment:

  • Overbite, sometimes called "buck teeth" — where the upper front teeth lie too far forward (stick out) over the lower teeth.
  • Under-bite — a "bulldog" appearance where the lower teeth are too far forward or the upper teeth too far back.
  • Cross-bite — when the upper teeth do not come down slightly in front of the lower teeth when biting together normally.
  • Open bite — space between the biting surfaces of the front and/or side teeth when the back teeth bite together.
  • Misplaced midline— when the center of your upper front teeth does not line up with the center of your lower front teeth.
  • Spacing — gaps, or spaces, between the teeth as a result of missing teeth or teeth that do not "fill up" the mouth.
  • Crowding — when there are too many teeth for the dental ridge to accommodate.
  • So, what are the different types of braces, and Which is right for me?

    Few people are lucky enough to be born with perfect teeth, but orthodontic treatment can make a huge difference to you or your child. Your orthodontist may recommend any of the following types of braces or dental appliances to help correct your particular problem.

    Traditional Braces Traditional braces have progressed since the early days and are now lighter in weight and structure than they used to be. They are made from a high-grade stainless steel and have metal brackets that are attached to each tooth using a type of cement. The brackets are linked to each other with a thin arch wire, which puts pressure on the teeth to cause them to move slowly into the correct position.

    The arch wires are connected to the brackets using tiny elastics known as ligatures or o-rings, which your orthodontist will change each time he tightens the braces. Some types of braces have brackets that don't need o-rings, and these are called self-ligating braces.

    Ceramic Braces

    These work in the same way as traditional braces, but the brackets are made from a clear, transparent ceramic material. The braces are less visible to others, which makes them a popular choice for adults who need orthodontic treatment. Patients wearing these types of braces occasionally find that the elastics become discolored, which can cause marks on the teeth. Your orthodontist might recommend the use of any product, which will help to provide fluoride to your teeth to protect them against cavities.

    Damon Braces


    This type of braces is currently enjoying a wave of popularity with orthodontists because it provides gentler treatment and requires fewer dental visits. Damon braces are self-ligating and use a slide mechanism instead of elastics to connect the arch wires.

    These braces produce faster results because the teeth can move on their own without needing to be adjusted. This causes less friction and pressure on the teeth, so movement is less painful. The braces are also easier to keep clean. Having to make fewer trips to your dental professional means that the process costs less time and money, too.

    Clear and Removable Aligners

    Invisalign is a type of clear aligner that you can use instead of metal or Damon braces. This involves a range of clear plastic aligners that resemble mouth guards, which are custom-made for you. They are removable for eating and cleaning, and you change them out for a newly made aligner every two weeks. Each new aligner takes the adjustment of your teeth one step further.

    Clear aligners are also recommended for ongoing use after you complete your orthodontic treatment. These appliances help to maintain the results you want until your teeth have settled down and finished moving.