Are you one of the many people who are still in some confusion as to what orthodontics actually are? If so, then it’s nothing to be ashamed of, since it is a highly specialised branch of dentistry which the average person can’t really be expected to have a grasp of. Whilst much dentistry involves dealing with problems such as decay and chipped or damaged teeth, orthodontics is a field which handles much more long term issues.
Orthodontics involves shifting the actual position of the teeth in the jaw itself. This is to deal with problems such as overcrowded teeth, teeth which have grown crooked or overlapping and teeth which don’t meet evenly when the patient bites. The severity of the problem being dealt with can vary widely – in some cases, one or two teeth might be slightly misaligned whereas other patients have an entire row of teeth which protrudes in an unsightly or unpleasant manner. The aim of the treatment offered will be to close excessive gaps between teeth, make sure that the tips of teeth meet evenly upon biting, straighten teeth which have grown crooked, bring about improvements in speaking and eating and stop the teeth being worn down excessively due to the fact that they combine incorrectly.
If you feel that your teeth may require treatment which includes orthodontic braces, then there are various points which should be borne in mind:
See a specialist – some dentists offer orthodontic braces as part of their regular treatment, but the best treatment will always be provided by a fully qualified orthodontist. An orthodontist will have had three years additional training in the field and will know everything there is to know about the way the teeth ought to be seated in the gums, and how they can be shifted.
Not just children – adults often assume that braces are only for children or teenagers, but this is not actually the case. The truth is that it’s never too late to shift your teeth and have the smile you deserve, and modern braces are much less obtrusive and inconvenient than those which most adults probably remember from their schooldays.
Aesthetics – many adults delay having braces fitted because they worry about having cumbersome and unappealing metal bars attached to their teeth. The truth, however, is that modern braces are much slimmer, more lightweight and less obtrusive, thanks to advances in materials and techniques. In some cases, your orthodontist may offer Invisalign, clear, lightweight plastic braces which can be slipped over the teeth and are virtually invisible to the naked eye.
Not just looks – having your teeth straightened isn’t just about the way they look. Teeth which are straighter are easier to keep clean and thus less likely to decay, and will make it easier to deal with a wider range of foods.
Retainers – your dentist will give you retainers to wear which will help to hold the teeth in place while new jaw bone forms around the root. The retainers will either be fixed retainers which are cemented to the back of the teeth, or temporary retainers, which are removable and can be worn at night and taken off during the day.
Referral – you don’t need to be referred to an orthodontist by your dentist, you can book an appointment at a clinic and have a consultation.
Whilst there’s no escaping the fact that having orthodontic treatment is a long term commitment, the advantages easily outweigh any of the problems. The improvements brought about are permanent and happen in a gradual and natural manner, and the treatment is non-invasive. The nature of modern orthodontic devices is such that they have a minimal effect upon the rest of your life, and have very little impact upon factors such as what you eat and drink and how you speak.
If you feel that you might be experiencing any of the problems highlighted above then book an appointment with our Perfect Smile orthodontist. They’ll examine your teeth and explain the best course of treatment, keeping you fully informed of what it involves, how long it will take, what the cost will be and the expected final results.