What is orthodontics?
Before we answer this question, let us understand what is orthodontics? Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry. The word orthodontics comprises of 2 parts Orthos meaning straight and Dontics meaning teeth. We are sure you would have understood by now what is this special branch of dentistry is all about. Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with alignment of the teeth and jaw.
Who are orthodontists?
The specialists who practice Orthodontics are called the orthodontists. Orthodontist undergo additional 2 or more years of training post the 4 years at the dental school in order to specialize in this branch of dentistry.
They help prevent, diagnose and correct teeth irregularities like overbites, underbites, cross bites and also the use of braces falls under the purview of their work. The goal of an orthodontist is to improve your bite and align your teeth so that you can eat, chew and speak properly.
Benefits and importance of orthodontics
Alignment of teeth really helps improve speech, bite and also allows a person to chew better. To read more on different kinds of bites and the importance of orthodontics read our blog – Importance of Orthodontics. Besides these the most important benefit of alignment of teeth is the cosmetic effect and the boost to one’s self-esteem. Straightening teeth also means better cleaning and reduction in chances of getting cavities.
What kind of problems do orthodontists fix?
Orthodontists help in resolving a number of issues of alignment of teeth and jaw like –
- Under bite – when the lower jaw appears in front of the upper jaw when the mouth is closed.
- Over bite – when the upper jaw appears in front of the lower jaw when the mouth is closed.
- Cross bite – When some teeth of the upper jaw are in front and some behind the corresponding teeth in the lower jaw when the mouth is closed.
- Open bite – When there is a gap between the front teeth of upper and lower jaw when one bites down.
- Overcrowding of teeth
- Spacing – fixing gaps between the teeth.
If you feel you have any of these problems then you must consult an orthodontist. Only they can determine the problem and consequently the right line of treatment for you. They use clinical examination, X-rays, plastic models and different kinds of appliances for different problems. Let us explore some of the most commonly used appliances by orthodontists.
Types of appliances used in orthodontic treatments
Orthodontists use different kinds of appliances in different orthodontic treatments. These appliances are used to move the teeth slowly into desired place, retrain muscles by putting pressure on the jaws gently. Some of these appliances are fixed while some are removable.
Fixed appliances include –
- Braces – These are also called orthodontic braces, traditionally they are made of metal. They have bands, wires and brackets. Brackets are attached to the front or back of the teeth and the wires connect these brackets to bands. The wires are tightened at regular intervals thereby putting pressure on the teeth forcing them to move in the desired position.
- Dental space maintainers – some children lose their primary teeth earlier than usual. In such cases orthodontists use what is known as dental space maintainer to make sure there is space for eruption of permanent teeth.
- The Herbst® appliance – generally used to reduce overbites it brings the lower jaw forward and take the upper molars backwards. Used generally in growing children.
Among the removable appliances we have –
- Aligners – The most popular now a days are the aligners because of their aesthetic appeal. These work on the same principles like braces however they don’t have brackets or wires and are available in clear or invisible variety making them very popular. These have to be removed while eating, drinking and brushing.
- Removable space maintainers – These serve the same purpose as the fixed dental space maintainers except that they are made of plastic with an acrylic base that fits on the jaw. They are placed where the teeth are missing.
- Splints – These are removable appliances used to reposition the jaw to reduce pain in TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders. They help in the opening and closing of the jaw. They are placed on either upper or the lower jaw depending on the problem.
- Retainers – Generally after braces dentists recommend wearing retainers which are worn on the roof of the mouth and prevent the teeth from shifting back to their original position.
- Palate expanders – Sometimes teeth can be overcrowded because the palate and upper jaw are constricted. These devices made of plastic plates are used to expand the palate by fixing them to the roof of the mouth leading to widening of the upper jaw.
There are some risks associated with orthodontic treatments like early tooth decay, loss of gum support and dissolving roots of teeth. The benefits of orthodontic treatments outweigh most of these risks. However, always make sure you understand the risks involved before undergoing any orthodontic treatment.
Hope this blog has been an interesting and informative read. If yes make sure that your share it with your family and friends. For any dental queries and appointments call Ensure Dental Care on 940-274-3229. Ensure Dental Care offers emergency dental services. Irrespective of the problem we offer same day emergency treatments. We entertain walk ins also.
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