Orthodontics - An Overview

Orthodontics is a special discipline of dentistry concerned with aligning the teeth and jaws to improve one's smile and overall oral health. "Ortho" means correct or straight, and "odont" means tooth. A dentist will recommend braces to improve the patient's physical appearance and function of the teeth and jaws, if the teeth are crooked and misaligned, or the jaws are of unequal size. This condition is referred to as malocclusion, which comes from a Latin word meaning 'bad bite'.

While the majority of orthodontic cases involve braces, there are alternatives that may be used for younger children or adults. Arch expanders for younger children can minimize or eliminate the need for braces when the problem is treated early enough.
Myo-functional Appliances utilize muscle forces to redirect and guide normal growth and development thereby minimizing jaw discrepancies; if treated during growth period.Invisible, clear plastic retainers, instead of braces, can be used by adults for mild to moderate crowding problems.

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:
  1. Overbite, sometimes called "buck teeth" — where the upper front teeth lie too far forward (stick out) over the lower teeth
  2. Underbite — a "bulldog" appearance where the lower teeth are too far forward or the upper teeth too far back
  3. Crossbite — when the upper teeth do not come down slightly in front of the lower teeth when biting together normally
  4. Open bite — space between the biting surfaces of the front and/or side teeth when the back teeth bite together
  5. Misplaced midline— when the center of your upper front teeth does not line up with the center of your lower front teeth
  6. Spacing — gaps, or spaces, between the teeth as a result of missing teeth or teeth that do not "fill up" the mouth
  7. Crowding — when there are too many teeth for the dental ridge to accommodate

Treatments

Many different types of appliances, both fixed and removable, are used to help move teeth, retrain muscles and affect the growth of the jaws. These appliances work by placing gentle pressure on the teeth and jaws. The severity of your problem will determine which orthodontic approach is likely to be the most effective.
icon box image

Braces

Bands are fixed around the teeth or tooth and used as anchors for the appliance, while brackets are most often bonded to the front of the tooth. They come in bright colors for kids as well as clear styles preferred by many adults.

icon box image

Special fixed appliances

Special fixed appliances are used to control thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, these appliances are attached to the teeth by bands. Because they are very uncomfortable during meals, they should be used only as a last resort.

icon box image

Aligners

An alternative to traditional braces for adults, serial 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.

icon box image

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.

Fix an appointment today

Book Now