Orthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry that deals specifically with the diagnosis, treatment, and correction of misaligned bite styles and malpositioned teeth, and other associated problems. It may also specialize in modifying the growth of the jaw, called dentofacial orthodontics. Some orthodontists perform both procedures simultaneously for better facial balance.
A qualified orthodontist can correct teeth alignment issues by providing services to the general public. They usually provide services to individuals who need urgent care due to the effects of an unbalanced bite or deformity such as misalignment of the upper and lower teeth. This condition often affects the confidence of the person, therefore orthodontics treatment can help improve the individual’s self-image. An orthodontist can also help patients avoid experiencing the social awkwardness that accompanies such an appearance.
Patients needing orthodontic services can visit an orthodontist for different types of services, depending on their condition. In cases of simple tooth decay or mild dental health concerns, braces are sometimes used. Braces, which are typically made of clear, removable plastic or metal, are generally worn at night while sleeping and are removed during the morning when the patient wakes up. In some instances, metal or clear braces may be worn during the day for extra visual coordination or to aid in chewing food properly. Braces, which often last for several years, are commonly prescribed by orthodontists for anyone from teenage boys to middle-aged women.
Another common orthodontics treatment procedure is occlusal therapy, which is often used to treat patients who have excessive loose or malleable teeth. In this procedure, a professional will apply a liquid orthodontic cement to the teeth or bite region in order to create a stronger connection between the teeth. This stronger connection provides better control over how the teeth move, resulting in an improved bite and more evenly distributed bite pressure. Occlusal therapy is most often performed on younger patients, as it is more difficult for them to adjust their bite.
If the patient suffering from the orthodontic issue requires both straightening and conditioning of their teeth, they may receive both in one treatment. Straightening, which can take several months, consists of the orthodontist applying controlled traction to the teeth using metal braces. The orthodontist may also use appliances called “buzzers” to further align the teeth while conditioning. Some of these methods, such as Invisalign, require long-term maintenance or customized braces after the orthodontist’s treatment.
This form of orthodontics usually takes several treatments over four to six months for maximum results. During each treatment, the orthodontist will carefully evaluate the condition of your jaws. Then they will decide on the best course of action. If the teeth are severely misaligned, the orthodontist may recommend the patient receives both straightening and conditioning. If the misalignment is minor, the orthodontists will most likely recommend straightening first to resolve any issues with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), then they will treat the condition of the jaw. For patients who do not qualify for Invisalign, braces may be recommended to help maintain proper bite and jaw placement.
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