What is orthodontics? Orthodontics is the specialty of dentistry that involves the treatment of malocclusion, which is when the upper and lower teeth or jaw do not meet correctly. Individuals may need to be treated by an orthodontist if they have problems with their bite (such as an over or under bite), crooked teeth or overcrowding in the mouth. An orthodontist may move the teeth into position or correct the bite using braces, which are appliances bonded to the teeth and use brackets, wires, rubber bands or other ways of moving the teeth. An orthodontist may also use removable appliances to reposition the teeth. In more serious cases, a patient may need jaw surgery to align the bite. Children and adults can be treated for malocclusion. A dentist or orthodontist can perform an initial evaluation to determine if braces are needed.
What if the teeth are not straightened? Left untreated, an individual may suffer from chewing or jaw (TMJ or temporomandibular joint) problems because the bite is off, increased tooth decay because teeth may be difficult to clean, or gum disease. An individual with crooked teeth and an unattractive smile may suffer from low self-esteem, social problems or even depression.
What are the types of problems? There are three main types of malocclusions, including:
- Type 1 - The upper and lower jaw are proportionally related from front to back, but there are problems with the teeth lining up straight within the jaws.
- Type 2 - The upper jaw is too far forward and/or the lower jaw is too far back resulting in an overbite, and there may also be problems with alignment of teeth.
- Type 3 - The upper jaw is too far back and/or the lower jaw is too far forward resulting in an under bite, and the teeth may also be crooked.
How long will treatment take? It's impossible for an orthodontist to project the actual treatment time. In most cases, however, treatment will range from 15 to 48 months for those with severe problems. In calculating total treatment time, the resting stages between multi-stage treatment periods (when the teeth are not actually being moved), should not be included. If a patient does not follow instructions from the dentist, treatment may take longer. If the interceptive stage is a success, subsequent stages may be avoided. An orthodontist develops a tailored treatment plan for each patient.
How effective is treatment on adults? More and more adults are getting braces. There is an array of treatment options for adults on the market, including ceramic braces and removable appliances, but they may have limited applicability and effectiveness. Many dentists report that metal braces are still the most effective and least expensive option.
Call us at 800-635-3594 or email us at email@example.com to talk more about your oral health and how the Hydro Floss® can help.