Orthodontics is a specialty in dentistry that addresses the diagnosis, prevention, and correction of malpositioned teeth and jaws, and misaligned bite patterns. It may also involve the modification of facial growth, commonly referred to as dentofacial orthopedics.
Orthodontists use fixed and removable dental devices like braces, retainers, and bands, to change the position of teeth in the mouth. They treat dental abnormalities which may include:
• Bite problems, like an overbite or an underbite
• Crooked teeth
• Misalignment of the jaw
• Crowded teeth, or those that are too far apart
Orthodontic care helps in improving a patient's bite by ensuring that teeth that are straight and evenly spaced align with opposing teeth in the jaw. A healthy bite aids in eating, chewing, and speaking properly. Orthodontics can be done to any patient regardless of their age.
Braces comprise brackets and wires that are attached to the teeth and adjusted monthly that help in the alignment of teeth into their desired positions. They gently apply continuous pressure to the teeth and surrounding bone over time, thereby moving them into the right place. Upon attaining the alignment, the braces are removed and retainers are worn to maintain their final positions. They also help in stabilizing the surrounding bone. Three types of esthetic braces are widely used: - ceramic, metal, or lingual.
Clear ceramic brackets can be used with metal wires to provide a more esthetic look during the treatment period. Their translucent nature allows them to blend well with the natural shade of the teeth, thus making them barely conspicuous.
Over time, metal braces have been made smaller and more comfortable thereby becoming the favorite for most people across all age groups. They can also be decorated with different colors or retained in clear or silver bands. One can also change their color during the visit to the dentist to enhance the looks and smile.
Lingual braces are often referred to as "invisible" braces because they are bonded to the back surfaces of the teeth, completely hidden from view. These braces are ideal for those who are wary of having braces on the front of the teeth.