Orthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontic treatment involves the use of braces, aligners, and other appliances to correct crooked teeth, overcrowding, gaps, and misaligned bites. The goal of orthodontic treatment is to improve the function and appearance of the teeth and jaw, as well as overall oral health.
Orthodontic treatment typically begins with a comprehensive examination and evaluation of the patient's teeth and bite. This includes taking x-rays, photographs, and impressions of the teeth, as well as a thorough review of the patient's medical and dental history. Based on this information, the orthodontist will develop a customized treatment plan that addresses the patient's specific needs and goals.
Braces are the most common orthodontic appliance used to straighten teeth and correct bite issues. They consist of brackets that are attached to the teeth and wires that apply pressure to the teeth to move them into the desired position. In addition to traditional metal braces, there are also options for clear braces, which are less visible, and lingual braces, which are attached to the back of the teeth.
Aligners are another popular orthodontic treatment option. They are clear plastic trays that are custom-made to fit over the teeth and gradually move them into the correct position. Aligners are removable, making them more convenient than traditional braces, but require more discipline to wear consistently for optimal results.
Orthodontic treatment typically takes several months to several years, depending on the complexity of the case. During this time, patients will need to visit the orthodontist regularly for adjustments and monitoring of progress.
In addition to improving the appearance of the teeth and bite, orthodontic treatment can also have significant health benefits, such as reducing the risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and jaw problems. Orthodontic treatment is often recommended for children and teenagers, but adults can also benefit from orthodontic treatment at any age.