With amazing developments in orthodontics in the past several years, many adults are now seeking treatment for oral problems that they’ve had since childhood. Either they wore braces and their teeth shifted back, or they are experiencing increase crowding after years of pressure.
Orthodontics is a specialty discipline within dentistry that focuses on alignment of the teeth and jaws with a goal to improve the person’s smile and overall oral health. Orthodontists diagnose, treat and prevent irregularities of the teeth with either fixed or removable dental appliances. These treatment methods are used to fix an irregular bite, straighten teeth, close gaps, and bring teeth and lips into proper alignment. Crooked teeth are not only more difficult to clean, which increases the chance of cavities or decay, but can also align improperly with the other row of teeth, causing unnecessary chipping and wearing.
In addition to having an aesthetically pleasing smile, the benefits of orthodontics including a healthier mouth, a greater chance of keeping your teeth for a lifetime, and increased confidence with a smile you’re proud of.
Adult patients now comprise about 50 percent of all orthodontic patients, and most often search for doctors who are able to provide the best results in the shortest about of time with minimal discomfort or inconvenience.
There are a variety of options, both fixed and removable, that help to move teeth, retain muscles and affect the growth of the jaws. These orthodontic treatments work to straighten teeth by gently placing pressure on the teeth as they move systematically in the jaw bone.
Traditional braces consist of brackets, elastic bands and arch wires. Brackets are bonded to the front of the tooth and are used an anchors for the braces. The arch wires are placed throughout the brackets and small elastic bands secure the arch wire in the bracket. The periodic tightening of the arch wire puts tension on the teeth, which gradually moves them into the desired position. Patients can expect to have their braces adjusted every four to six weeks, and wear them for an average of one to three years, or until the preferred outcome has been achieved. Once the braces are removed, the patient will have to wear a retainer on both the upper and lower arches for at least one year, which will help to ensure the teeth remain in their proper position.
For patients who prefer to wear removable aligners to fix their smile, they can choose Invisalign, which is the clear solution for straightening teeth. Patients will wear a set of custom-made, clear plastic aligners that they will switch with a new set every two weeks. Invisalign is intended to deliver the same benefits as traditional braces, but with a better aesthetic appeal, fewer restrictions on their diet, and usually a faster treatment time. The aligners are worn for 22 hours a day and are only removed for eating, brushing and flossing. Once the patient has successfully completed their Invisalign treatment, they will wear their retainers, at night only, for the rest of their life. This ensures that the teeth remain in the desired position and don’t regress to their previous location.
Good oral hygiene is also important when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Brushing twice a day (especially after meals), flossing daily and regularly visiting your dental team are all important factors to keeping your gums and teeth healthy.
Regardless of your preferred method for straightening your smile, your dental team will be able to review all options and recommend a method that fits within your lifestyle and budget.