Orthodontics is a special branch of dentistry, which involves treating problems associated with crooked teeth and the jaw joint. The way the upper and lower jaw meet in the middle is called “the bite” and this is often affected by problems associated with misaligned teeth and the jaw joint. Many dentists that have attended courses in orthodontics can offer treatments to realign teeth and correct minor bite problems. However, specialist orthodontists are dentists that have had an additional three years full time training in orthodontics after their dental degree. A specialist orthodontist will be registered on the general dental council specialists list.
The process of orthodontics is a way of straightening or moving teeth, to improve their appearance and how they function. Realigning teeth into a natural position can also help with the long-term health of the teeth, gums and jaw joints, by spreading the biting pressure evenly over all the teeth.
Crowding is a term used to describe teeth that are too close together for the space available and so they end up looking crooked. Orthodontic treatment can straighten teeth or move them into position which is more manageable, improving aesthetics and way the teeth bite together, which can make them easier to clean, improving oral hygiene.
There are two main ways to treat orthodontic problems; extraction orthodontics where teeth are actually removed from the roots to make room for the remaining teeth and non-extraction orthodontics where the teeth are repositioned using aligners or braces. The method that is used will depend on the individual case and your orthodontist should be able to advise you on the best plan of treatment.
There are many different types of treatments available including fast friction free braces using the damon braces system.
There has been a recent surge in the number of people opting for treatment with invisible braces using the Invisalign braces system or the newer clearstep braces system. The clear braces cannot be used to treat severe orthodontic problems Whichever invisible braces system is chosen the principle is the same
In some patients the upper front teeth can stick out and look unsightly. Prominent teeth are also more likely to be damaged and may require orthodontic treatment to move them back into line.
In others, the way the upper and lower jaws meet can cause teeth to look unsightly and lead to an incorrect bite. Orthodontic treatment may be able to correct this.
When the teeth dont meet correctly, this can put strain on the muscles of the jaw, causing jaw and joint problems and in some cases headaches. Orthodontic treatment can help you to bite more evenly and reduce the strain.
Orthodontic treatment is usually carried out in children, but adults can benefit from it too. Age is less important than having the proper number of teeth. In children it may be necessary to wait for enough teeth to come through before starting treatment.
Your cosmetic dentist may carry out your orthodontic treatment or refer you to a specialist who has extra qualifications. The specialist may be in a practice or in a hospital department, and is called an orthodontist.
The dentist or orthodontist will give you a full dental examination, including looking at your teeth, taking x-rays and making plaster models of your teeth. He or she will then discuss your treatment options with you.