What Are Orthodontics?

People can get dentistry and orthodontics confused and it’s no wonder. Many dentists do orthodontic work and orthodontists are trained in dentistry. However, there is a mild distinction.
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What are orthodontics? The official definition is the treatment of teeth and jaw irregularities. Most people who have ever had a pre-teen or teenager understand that orthodontics primarily is treatment and solutions for teeth alignment. That means installing and maintaining braces and retainers.

The process usually begins when a general dentist notices an alignment problem during an exam and refers the patient to the orthodontist. The one aspect that many don’t consider is that orthodontists work with more issues than just crooked teeth.

Other Orthodontic Issues

Orthodontic problems can be too much spacing between teeth or too much space due to missing teeth. There could be crowding as there isn’t enough room for adult teeth to come in. Crowding and spacing problems are the most common problems of those choosing to visit an orthodontist.

Another orthodontic issue is front teeth protrusion, where the upper teeth are too far out of the mouth or the lower teeth aren’t far enough. This can cause biting issues.

Most of what orthodontics covers relates to proper biting. There is the underbite, the overbite, the crossbite, and well as an open bite, and a dental midline mismatch.

An overbite is when the top jaw over extends the bottom jaw and an underbite is when the bottom jaw over extends the top jaw.

A cross bite refers to teeth that don’t properly align when your mouth is closed. An open bite is when the front teeth on the top and the bottom don’t meet when the mouth is closed.

Biting Problems Affect Quality of Life

Biting problems can cause other issues for people. They can have trouble chewing or constantly bite their cheeks or tongues. Some teeth alignment issues can even cause speech impediments.

That’s what makes orthodontics an important specialty in dentistry.

Looking at Treatment Options

Orthodontic treatments range beyond traditional braces to clear aligner products like Invisalign, ceramic braces, and Damon braces, which have a self-adjusting slider over elastic to connect wires.

Orthodontists can also palatal expanders, which include Invisalign, to deal with alignment issues. Sometimes the expanders are used to align the jaws properly to prepare the patient to wear braces.

Forsus appliances are also devices orthodontists use. The springs are connected to braces to put the jaw into a proper position. They are typically used to correct overbites and underbites.

You can ask your dentist if you need orthodontic work or for a referral to see if you might benefit from it. Most children should go for an orthodontic check-up after they turn 7.

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Written by Bentway Dental

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