For most patients, achieving a straight, beautiful smile is the deciding factor for investing in orthodontic care. If you happen to feel self-conscious about your smile, or if you’re experiencing discomfort with your bite, correcting your concerns through orthodontic treatment can successfully change the way you not only look but feel.
That being said, it’s important to remember that orthodontic treatment goes far beyond aesthetics. It also helps improve the overall function of the teeth and jaw muscles. The best option to correct misalignment issues will depend on several different factors. Straighter teeth are easier to clean, reducing the chances of tooth decay and gum disease. Crowded teeth may make brushing and flossing more challenging with the risk of missing food particles and bacteria in hard-to-reach areas. Malocclusion, otherwise known as a bad bite, can also create discomfort and challenges with eating and speaking.
Advancements in orthodontic technology mean that there are more treatment options available today than ever before. To shift misaligned or crooked teeth to the desired position, your orthodontist can help you choose the best-suited treatment for your specific orthodontic condition. Next, we’ll break down the most popular orthodontic treatment options.
Traditional metal braces are more comfortable than ever before. Made of high-grade stainless steel and titanium, they help straighten your teeth by using metal brackets and archwires. Once the braces have been placed, they require adjustment to move the teeth to their optimal position. Regular follow-up appointments are necessary to allow your orthodontist to monitor the progress. Braces are suitable for both minor and complex orthodontic issues including misalignment, underbites, overbites, and crossbites.
For a more discreet option, ceramic braces are made of clear materials and are less visible on your teeth compared to traditional metal braces. For patients with cosmetic concerns, ceramic braces are a popular option. It’s important to note that even though the appearance will be more discreet, it’s not completely transparent. Instead, the brackets are made from a shade of ceramic that appropriately matches your teeth.
Lingual braces are hidden behind the teeth making them completely invisible when you smile. They are one hundred percent customized to match the exact shape of your teeth and are placed within the inner portion of the teeth to assist with tooth, jaw, and bite correction. They have gained popularity throughout the years because they are a more comfortable and discreet option for those undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Clear & Removable Aligners
Looking to achieve a straight smile without a mouth full of metal? Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are an alternative treatment of customized clear plastic trays that shift your teeth into proper alignment. Orthodontic treatment using clear aligners allows for a reduced treatment time.
but only if the treatment plan is followed properly. Since patient compliance is essential for success, patients are required to be disciplined about wearing the aligners for at least 22 hours a day. They are changed every two weeks on average to the next set in the series, only to be removed when eating or drinking anything other than water, and of course, to brush and floss.
A fixed or removable retainer will mold to the shape of your bite and must be worn as directed by your orthodontist. Fixed retainers are custom-fitted wires that are bonded to the inside of your teeth, typically on the lower teeth. The role of the trainer is to keep teeth in place while the bone tissue rebuilds around them. Similar to removable aligners, retainers should be worn at all times, except when you are eating or brushing your teeth. It’s important to follow the advice and direction of your orthodontist and not neglect your retainer in order to achieve desired results.
A palate expander is an orthodontic appliance that is used to correct a discrepancy or width problem between the upper and lower jaws. The appliance applies pressure to the backs of the upper molars, gradually moving the teeth further apart. Palate expanders are typically used in younger patients because the upper and lower jaws are still developing but in certain cases, they are used for adult patients.
It’s recommended for children to have an orthodontic exam and evaluation performed no later than age seven. This will allow the dentist or orthodontist to see if they are candidates for orthodontic treatment, as it’s easier to treat issues while the jaws and teeth are still in a developmental stage. A Forsus appliance is attached to traditional braces to bring the upper and lower jaw into its proper position. These appliances have mostly replaced the use of headgear and are commonly used to help correct stubborn overbites.