What Is Orthodontics, Anyway?

You may have heard the word "orthodontics," and wondered what exactly it means. How is your orthodontist, like Dr. Vick, able to help you? Today Dr. Vick in Calgary will walk you through the basics of this dental specialty. 

What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a dental specialty that focuses on treating irregularities in your teeth and jaw. This especially applies to issues with alignment, positioning and occlusion.

Conditions like crooked teeth, jaw misalignments, overcrowding, underbites and overbites can cause a number of oral health issues. These can lead to serious problems with eating, speech and other quality of life issues. 

In cases like this, Dr. Vick will recommend orthodontic treatment which will gradually and slowly move your teeth into straighter positions, leaving you with a more symmetrical and healthier smile. 

Regardless of whether your orthodontic issues stem from genetic or hereditary factors or because of injuries and bad habits, it is key to treatment as soon as possible.  Resolving issues associated with gaps between your teeth or misaligned jaw bones can improve a patient's oral health, improv the function of their mouth, and improv the appearance of their smile. 

What are some common orthodontic treatments?

Depending on what your particular oral health issue is, Dr. Vick may recommend one or more of the following orthodontic treatments to help you to correct it:

  • Oral surgery
  • Orthodontic braces
  • Removable appliances
  • Retainer
  • Head gear
  • Clear aligners

Each of these treatments will require effort on the part of the patient, dentist and orthodontist to achieve its ideal results. And all of these treatment methods require semi-regular care, upkeep and maintenance. 

What are the benefits of orthodontic treatments?

People of all ages can benefit form the results of successful orthodontic treatment. The risk of tooth decay and gum disease increases in individuals who have crooked or misaligned teeth.

People with these oral health issues may also find it more difficult to conduct routine cleanings like flossing - which can compound with the above issues to encourage poor oral hygiene and oral health. 

Effective orthodontic treatments can:

  • Ensure crowded teeth are appropriately spaced
  • Fix improper bites
  • Properly align your teeth and jaw
  • Close gaps between teeth
  • Improve oral function (including speech and eating)
  • Straighten crooked teeth

How do I know if I need orthodontic treatment?

If your jaw is misaligns or you have crooked, protruding, or crowded teeth, you may notice difficulty in chewing food, eating or sometimes even speaking. Patients can also experience muscle pain and tension if their issue is related to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) Disorder. 

Your dentist will review your dental history and mention issues like these during your regularly schedule dental appointments. They may refer you to an orthodontist like Dr. Vick who will be able to meet your needs through his custom treatment plans. 

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Since each patient is different and has different needs, orthodontic treatment will last as long as your orthodontist determines is appropriate in your specific case. 

The length of your treatment will depend in your age, the severity of your oral health issues, the treatment method being use and other factors. Usually you will have to visit your dentist or orthodontist regularly for months of years for a successful treatment. 

Children and teenagers will often take less time to complete an orthodontic treatment than adults. Most people undergoing orthodontic treatment will wear appliances like braces for about 2 years. You will receive special instructions for your unique treatment plan from your orthodontist. 

Do you have questions about orthodontics? Contact Dr. Vick in Calgary today to book a consultation and inquire about your orthodontic treatment options.

Your Calgary Orthodontist

Learn more about the orthodontic treatment options that may help you. 

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