Orthodontic treatment is used to straighten your teeth, so that they look and function better. It uses braces or other appliances to apply gentle pressure to misaligned teeth to guide them over time into the proper position. Our trained dentists and orthodontists can treat and correct:
- Crowded, crooked or protruding teeth
- Overbite, underbite, openbite or overjet conditions
- Too much space between your teeth
- Misalignment due to extra or missing teeth
Not only do these conditions make you unhappy with your smile and your overall appearance, misaligned teeth can affect your bite and make it difficult to properly chew some foods, or cause undue wear on the misaligned teeth. Crooked or crowded teeth are also more difficult to clean, which can lead to cavities or gum disease. Protruding teeth are more easily chipped or broken.
Orthodontic corrections take time, so an examination is recommended for children even before all permanent teeth have come in. However, orthodontic treatment is not limited to children; adults can benefit from it as well. There are a number of different orthodontic treatments, including:
- Braces – Brackets or bands are applied to the individual teeth, connected by wires that can be progressively tightened using elastics to move misaligned teeth into the proper position. Modern braces can be made either of metal or more transparent materials.
- Removable appliances – These appliances can be used either in conjunction with braces or on their own to move a tooth or a group of teeth into position.
- Retainers – Often used to keep the teeth in the proper position after the braces have been removed, retainers can be either attached or removable, worn for part of the day or night.
- Oral surgery – Some misalignments caused by crowded teeth can be resolved by removing one or more teeth and moving the remaining teeth into a more proper position.
What can you expect if you choose orthodontic treatment?
First, orthodontic treatment takes time. Correction of improperly-aligned teeth may take months or even years to affect permanent changes. During this period you will need to visit your dentist or orthodontist every four to seven weeks so that the braces or other devices can be adjusted.
There are few risks or side effects of orthodontic treatment, but some patients can experience temporary discomfort as the elastic bands are first applied or adjusted. Brushing and flossing may take longer, because food can get stuck around the brackets and wires of braces. You may also need to avoid eating hard or sticky foods while braces are in place.