Orthodontics is a specialist branch of dentistry. It deals with the diagnosis, prevention and correction of dental and facial irregularities caused by:
- A bad bite or malocclusion
- Missing or extra teeth
- Misaligned teeth
- Crooked teeth
- Crowed teeth
- An overbite
- An underbite
- Misaligned jaw position
- A disorder of the jaw joint
You’ll all know of someone who has worn braces. This is the most common practice used in orthodontics. Braces are usually made from wires and springs attached to tiny metal plates or a plastic mould. Braces apply gentle forces to teeth and encourage them to move slowly and thereby adjust the alignment of the teeth. It’s most common to see children with braces – this is because their teeth are still growing, but these days a growing section of the population is adults who are wearing braces.
Why is orthodontic treatment important?
Treatment will bring positive benefits for your long-term dental health:
- Properly aligned teeth are easier to brush and clean. This then reduces the risk of tooth decay.
- Your chewing (and therefore your digestion of food) will improve.
- Any speech impediments or difficulties will be improved.
- With an improved bite you will lesson the risk of premature tooth wear.
What does orthodontic treatment involve?
There are two stages in orthodontic treatment:
- The active phase. Braces and other appliances are used to correct the alignment and bite.
- The retention phase. A retainer will hold the teeth in their new position to ensure the results are permanent.