Orthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of conditions that affect the alignment of the teeth and jaw. Orthodontists and some general dentists design and install corrective devices such as braces , aligners, expansion plates, and hats to align the teeth or jaw.
There are many factors that can reveal why your teeth are crooked and what orthodontic options may be right for you.
Straight, well-aligned teeth may be desirable for cosmetic reasons, but more importantly, they generally indicate healthier oral health.
Misalignment of the teeth and jaw may be associated with uneven tooth wear, gum problems, shortness of breath, poor oral hygiene (because the teeth are difficult to brush), speech development, and damage to the jaw joint .
Orthodontic treatment can often lead to a smile that not only solves these problems, but also helps you (or your child) feel more confident.
You may simply notice that your or your child's teeth are not as straight as you would (or would hope). Some people are more susceptible to crooked teeth, although many of these problems can be caused by something someone is exposed to, such as breastfeeding or thumb sucking or using the nipples .
Also, your dentist may identify a problem that orthodontics can help with and suggest that you consider it. Some of the most common are:
- Crowded teeth
- To bite
- Cross bite
- Deep bite
- Wisdom tooth
- Missing teeth
- Impacted teeth
The relationship between the teeth and the jaw begins at birth, so it is important to pay close attention to the development of the baby's jaw. By age 7, the dentist / orthodontist is usually quite clear if the patient will have orthodontic problems, as most permanent teeth must be present .
Primary care physicians and otolaryngologists can also advise on orthodontic treatment. Your teeth are an indicator of how your jaw and face are developing, and an underdeveloped jaw can contribute to airway dysfunction. Orthodontics can really help people breathe better today .
There are some signs that you or your child are not breathing properly:
- Mouth breathing
- Mouth open at rest
- Daytime sleepiness
- Memory / attention problems
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Sleep disturbance / lack of sleep
A doctor may suggest orthodontic treatment as part of the treatment for these problems, sometimes after completing other evaluations, such as a sleep study.
Stages of treatment
It is best to start treatment early as it prevents the problem from getting worse. Once growth has stopped, treatment can also be more difficult. In this case, orthodontic treatment can be started at different ages, depending on the case.
Before straightening your teeth, you need to take several steps to achieve your desired end result:
- Expansion: If necessary, a special orthodontic appliance is used to increase the width of the palate or jaw. This helps free up more space for your teeth so they can go in as straight as possible.
- Correction: A correction device is then placed to help correct existing teeth. Adjustments are made as teeth move during treatment.
- Retention: A second device called a retainer is inserted and is expected to be worn regularly for the next 12 months to prevent the teeth from returning to their previous position. In the following year, patients should generally wear the retainer immediately after overnight.
In cases where you need help using your jaw to correct your bite and prevent tongue movements from causing further misalignment of your teeth, functional devices may also be recommended.
Braces (also known as braces) are one of the most common orthodontic treatments. The idea of braces can be a bit puzzling to some people, especially if you like those big, massive metal braces from the '80s. However, braces these days have vastly improved over what they used to be. decades ago and can be made of stainless steel, metal, ceramic, or plastic.
While ceramic or plastic braces may look better aesthetically, you should be aware that the plastic can stain and discolor when you reach the end of your treatment.
In some cases, it may be advisable to use invisible and removable aligners that are changed every two weeks. They allow you to brush and floss normally, unlike traditional braces.
The lifestyle and habits of you or your child, as well as your budget and insurance coverage, should also consider what will ultimately be chosen.
Accessories and adjustments
The process of installing an orthodontic appliance begins when your orthodontist decides which one is right for your mouth. If braces are required, the first step is to place the braces on the teeth and attach them to the tooth with special glue. Metal bands are applied to the back teeth and wires are placed inside the brackets.
When in place, your orthodontist or dentist will adjust your appliance to lightly press on your teeth to move them in the desired direction. Since your teeth will move during treatment, you will need to adjust them from time to time.
Generally speaking, orthodontic treatment takes some time; the average duration is about two years. The actual time required depends on the severity of the condition, the type of treatment needed, and whether the patient is following their orthodontist's instructions for using the device. …
What you end up spending can vary depending on the amount of treatment, the methods used, and your insurance coverage.
Traditional metal or ceramic (clear) braces start at $ 5,000. Dental or sublingual appliances cost between $ 5,000 and $ 13,000. Clear aligners like Invisalign can cost anywhere from $ 3,000 to $ 8,000 depending on how many adjustments are required.
At the first visit, your orthodontist or dentist should discuss options and costs. During this time, it is convenient to raise any questions so that it is clear what is required to achieve the final result of the treatment in terms of time, commitment and investment.
Many orthodontic offices will allow you to plan how you will pay for your treatment.