division of dentistry dealing with the prevention and correction of irregularities of the teeth—generally entailing the straightening of crooked teeth or the correcting of a poor bite, or malocclusion (physiologically unacceptable contact of opposing dentition, which may be caused by imperfect development, loss of teeth, or abnormal growth of jaws). Of significance to the orthodontist is the sequence of eruption (emergence of the tooth from its developmental crypt into the oral cavity), because such knowledge helps to determine the position of the teeth.
Traditional metal braces are still a hugely popular form of orthodontic treatment for adults, teenagers and children. Braces consist of a series of brackets attached directly to your teeth, linked by wires which work to pull the teeth into their correct position.
These braces are made of ceramic which blends into your teeth better and are invisible.
In all other ways though these braces are like the metal ones. You still have food and drink restrictions and will need the wires tightened as the teeth shift.
Most bite and alignment issues can be treated by ceramic braces.
Lingual braces are similar to traditional braces in that they attach to your teeth and work to correct improper alignment. To affix a lingual brace, your orthodontist will attach brace brackets to the back of your teeth so that they are hidden from view.
The advantage of this system is that you still achieve the same straight smile but without having to feel self-conscious about wearing a brace. In addition to this, lingual braces have much less impact on your speech as they don’t interfere with the movement of your lips.
Invisalign is a highly effective method of straightening your teeth and correcting your smile without using braces. Instead of metal brackets and wires, you wear a clear plastic aligner tray on your teeth like a retainer. These trays get changed every two weeks to adjust to the changing shape of your teeth and can be removed for eating and cleaning throughout the day.
A retainer or removable appliance is recommended for patients who have recently had tooth realignment treatment in order to maintain the new shape of their teeth. In order to keep your bite corrected and prevent teeth from shifting back into their original place, your orthodontist will prescribe you a retainer to wear at certain times.
There are a number of different types of removable appliances and the right one for you will depend on the treatment you’ve had and the issues that remain. Banded or bonded retainers can be glued to the back of teeth to maintain correct placement of one or more teeth, or a clear retainer can be worn overnight.
Orthodontic elastics are a special type of rubber bands which are used in conjunction with your braces to help correct jaw problems or tooth alignment. These bands can pull your jaw forwards or backwards in order to improve your bite and speed up the process of tooth alignments.