Orthodontic Treatment helps in correcting misaligned teeth and jaw. Teeth that are not positioned properly or do not fit together correctly cannot be kept clean and thus create a higher chance of tooth decay and gum diseases which further lead to tooth loss. Crooked teeth not only are difficult to maintain but create additional stress on the jaw muscles that can lead to TMJ disorder. This could also disturb an individual with headache, shoulder, neck and back pain. Crooked teeth create a hindrance in one’s confidence by affecting the smile appearance.
Orthodontic treatment helps in creating a healthier mouth, aligned set of teeth and a pleasing appearance. A specialist in this field is called an orthodontist.
There is no such defined age to start with orthodontic treatment. If you have a problem with your bite you can consult an orthodontist. An orthodontist does a clinical examination, diagnoses your medical and dental history, takes jaw X-ray and plaster models of your teeth and suggests the right treatment for you.
You might be a case of any of the following:
- Overbite: When your upper jaw is too forward as compared to the lower jaw.
- Underbite: An appearance where the lower jaw is too forward and the upper jaw is too far back.
- Crossbite: It is a lateral misalignment of dental arches. In this case, the teeth are close to the tongue or to cheek.
- Open bite: When there is a gap left between the teeth of the upper jaw and lower jaw when the mouth is closed.
- Placed midline: When the centre of your upper front teeth does not line up with the centre of your lower front teeth.
- Spacing: When there is a pronounced gap between the teeth due to missing teeth or teeth that do not fill the mouth.
- Crowding: Displaced teeth that do not fit in the jaw normally.
How Does Orthodontic Treatment Work?
Many Orthodontic approaches exist. However, the approach totally depends on the severity of your problem. Metal braces, invisible braces, transparent braces, retainers, space maintainers etc. help to align your teeth and affect the growth of your jaw. These appliances are used to create gentle pressure on the teeth and jaws which help to reposition the teeth.
Fixed appliances include:
- Braces: Braces consist of brackets, wires and bands. Brackets are the tiny ceramic or metal links that are glued onto each of your teeth. Bands are fixed around the brackets to adjust the teeth and jaw position. Archwires are passed through the brackets. The gentle pressure to straighten the teeth is created by tightening the archwire. Orthodontic treatment duration depends on the severity of the case. Accordingly, adjustment is made monthly help achieve the result. Apart from metal braces, transparent braces and colourful bands are also available as options.
- Fixed space maintainers: If a baby tooth is lost prematurely, a space maintainer is used to keep the space open until the permanent tooth erupts. A band is attached to the tooth next to the empty space, and a wire is extended to the tooth on the other side of the space.
Removable appliances include:
- Aligners: The alternate solution to crooked teeth for adults, are also known as invisible aligners. 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.
- Jaw repositioning appliances — These are also called splints that are worn on either the upper or lower jaw, to train the jaw to close in a more favourable position. They may be used for temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).
- Lip and cheek bumpers — These are designed to keep the lips or cheeks away from the teeth. Lip and cheek muscles can exert pressure on the teeth, and these bumpers help relieve that pressure.
- Removable retainers — These are worn on the roof of the mouth, these devices prevent shifting of the teeth to their previous position. They can also be modified and used to prevent thumb sucking.
- Headgear — with this device, a strap is placed around the back of the head and attached to a metal wire in front, or face bow. Headgear slows the growth of the upper jaw and holds the back teeth where they are while the front teeth are pulled back.