One morning, you look in the mirror while brushing your teeth and you notice that your teeth may be misaligned. At this point, you ask yourself one question, do I need orthodontics?
You’re not too sure. So you eventually ask your spouse; Do you think I have an actual dental problem; Do you think I need orthodontics like an aligner?
While we all wish to have beautiful, healthy and straight teeth, no one likes the idea of going to an orthodontist or getting braces.
But, something as “simple” as misaligned teeth can put you at risk for tooth decay, gum disease, earaches, and headaches. Yikes!
Good news! A visit to an orthodontist is the perfect solution. You will get the treatment you need and the satisfaction that you want.
But isn’t an orthodontist for kids only? No! Progressively, adults are going to orthodontist more and more to improve their smiles and correct minor problems. They are starting to take their smile a bit more seriously.
With that in mind:
Let’s take a look at some of the most common dental problems that can become very serious if left untreated. Also, we will look at some of the available treatment options an orthodontist can offer:
First off, an orthodontist is the only medical professional that can decide if you need or will benefit from orthodontics, which is the treatment of irregularities in the jaws and teeth.
An orthodontist will use your medical and dental history, give you a clinical exam, get plaster models of your teeth, get special x-rays and photographs to decide a treatment plan that is specially created for you.
But do I need orthodontics?
If you think you have one of the following dental problems, you may want to consider a visit to your preferred orthodontist:
An overbite, also referred as “buck teeth” or “overjet”, occurs when the upper front teeth bite sticks out over the lower teeth.
Opposite from an overbite, underbite or “bulldog” appearance occurs when the lower teeth protrudes in front of the upper teeth or when the upper teeth lay too far back.
Unlike an overbite and underbite, crossbites occur when the upper and lower jaws are misaligned when biting down.
An open bite occurs when the space between the upper and lower front or side teeth doesn’t make physical contact for a correct bite.
A misplaced midline is another common bite problem that occurs when the upper front teeth don’t line up with the center of the lower front teeth.
Spacing occurs when there is a gap or space between teeth that’s caused by missing teeth, large jaws with small teeth, or a low frenum.
Crowding occurs when there are too many teeth in your dental ridge that don’t allow other teeth to erupt from the gum.
There are a variety of appliances that are used for treatment. These types of appliances can either be fixed or removable, depending on the problem.
By placing a slight pressure on your teeth and jaws, these appliances will help you restore your beautiful smile and gain the appearance that you desire.
The orthodontist will decide the most effective orthodontic approach.
Braces are one of the most common fixed appliances. They can come in metal or ceramic form and consist of bands, archwires, and brackets.
You will notice that bands are usually fixed around the teeth or tooth to help anchor the appliance.
Brackets are bonded to the front of the tooth.This will allow the archwires to pass through the bracket and attach to the bands. By tightening the archwires on a monthly basis, your teeth will gradually move to its proper place. This is achieved over a period of about 24 to 28 months, depending the desired result.
Braces are now lighter, smaller and show less metal compared to the past braces – big, bulky and obnoxious. Even though braces can come in a variety of colors for kids, there are clear styles that will accommodate the look and feel for adults.
Special fixed appliances, such as Palatal Crib, Hay Rake and Bluegrass, are used to help control thumb sucking and tongue thrusting. These type of appliances are attached to the teeth with the use of bands.
These special fixed appliances should be your last resort because they are very uncomfortable to wear, especially during a meal.
They are not just for kids:
Even though this type of appliance is typically used on kids that can’t seem to break the bad habit, however, there are some adults that haven’t broken out of the bad habit.
Age is not a factor when there is a bad habit involved.
Fixed space maintainers, like band-and-loop, lingual arch and distal shoe appliance, are fixed to teeth or tooth, which is done by cementing the space maintenance appliance in place. They can come in either stainless steel and plastic.
Typically, fixed space maintainers are used on kids that have lost their tooth prematurely. This is when a fixed space maintainer is used to help keep the space open until the permanent tooth comes out. This is usually achieved by the use of a band that is attached to the tooth next to the empty space while a wire is extended to the tooth on the other side of the space.
Aligners, like Invisalign, are increasingly being used on adults by many orthodontists. This type of removable appliance will help move teeth in the same way as a fixed appliance.
The benefit of aligners is the lack of metal wires and brackets. Not only that, aligners are practically invisible to human eye and are removable when you need to eat, brush your teeth and flossing.
Now that’s a good trade-off!
Similar to fixed space maintainers, removable space maintainers have the same function as a fixed appliance.
Removable space maintainers are made out of an acrylic base that can fit over the jaw area, which has plastic or wire branches between specific teeth. This will allow the space between the opening to remain accessible for the new or an artificial tooth.
Jaw repositioning appliances or splints are usually worn on the lower or upper jaw area. By having this appliance, you will train your jaw to close in a more benign position.
Jaw repositioning appliances are typically used for temporomandibular joint disorders or TMJ, which is a problem that affects your chewing muscles and joints that connect to your lower jaw to your skull.
As you can see, there are a variety of appliances that an orthodontist can use for treatment. It just depends on the severity of the problem.
Apart from the listed removable orthodontic appliances, there are more removable appliance options that an orthodontist could use for treatment, such as lip and cheek bumpers, palatal expander, removable retainers, and headgear. Your orthodontist should always have the finally say.
Having straight teeth can not only help your appearance and confidence, it can also improve how you speak, bite and chew. Orthodontics can also prevent decay, gum disease, earaches, and headaches.
Don’t let the appearance and minor discomfort of an orthodontic appliance spoil the idea of having a beautiful and confident smile.
So going back to the original question, do I need orthodontics? The only way to truly know is to visit your preferred orthodontist.
So what are you waiting for?
Get your smile and confidence back. Stop asking yourself do I need orthodontics, and contact your preferred orthodontist today!