What is Orthodontics?
Crooked or crowded teeth can be difficult to clean and keep healthy, which can result in tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. Uneven arches, improper bites, and crooked, gapped or misaligned teeth can also lead to abnormal wear on the surface of teeth, diminished chewing ability, increased stress on the jawbone or gum tissue, and even headaches or neck pain. Orthodontics is the practice of correcting irregularities in the teeth and jaw, such as alignment problems, spacing issues, or crowding of teeth in the mouth, which can lead to more serious dental or health conditions down the road. If you experience any of the following dental problems, you may be in need of orthodontic treatment:
When the teeth on the upper and lower arches do not line up properly or when teeth are crooked.
When large gaps exist between teeth or when too many teeth crowd into a single area for the dental ridge to accommodate
When the upper and lower mandible is improperly aligned, which can lead to bite problems, including underbites, overbites, crossbites and open bites.
Common orthodontic treatments:
There are primarily two general types of orthodontics treatments: fixed and removable appliances. Here are a few of each:
Fixed dental appliances:
The most common form of orthodontic treatment is braces. Fixed braces are comprised of bands cemented on the molars and brackets that are cemented on the front surface of the teeth. Wires are then attached to the brackets and help to gently move the teeth into place. Braces can be made of stainless steel or they can be made a clear or white ceramic.
Fixed palatal expanders:
Prior to adolescent years, it is possible to stimulate the upper jaw so that it will become wider. This is often done through a fixed expansion appliance which is cemented onto the upper molars. The appliance has a chamber which slowly causes the upper jaw to grow wider.
Some patients have jaws that are not aligned properly. When the lower jaw is back, then a functional appliance can be used to stimulate growth of the lower jaw. Many functional appliances such as a Herbst or MARA appliance are cemented into the mouth.
Fixed space maintainers:
When a baby tooth is prematurely lost, space maintainers are used to reserve space for the permanent tooth when it is time to break through the gum line.
Removable dental appliances:
Aligners, including Invisalign, are a great alternative to traditional fixed braces for qualified candidates. Aligners are a series of removable trays that are comprised entirely of clear plastic, making them nearly invisible to others.
Removable space maintainers:
Like fixed space maintainers, these devices reserve space for teeth that have yet to come in.
These removable plastic plates fit over the roof of the mouth and are used to widen the arch of the upper jaw.
These are meant to prevent the shifting of teeth to their previous position. At TLC for Smiles, we offer comprehensive orthodontics for both children and adults. With early interceptive treatment, orthodontic treatment can begin on children as young as six years old even before all of a child’s permanent teeth have erupted. Teens and adults too can enjoy the benefits orthodontics has to offer with braces or Invisalign treatments to correct an imperfect smile or bite. To get started on your custom orthodontics treatment plan, we start with an initial consultation and dental exam where we will go over your dental and medical history, take x-rays, photographs and impressions of your teeth, and discuss all treatment options available to you. If you would like to schedule an orthodontics appointment with us, call 818-360-2131 or fill out our appointment form.