Understanding the Benefits and Basics of Braces

Understanding the Benefits and Basics of Braces
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Orthodontic treatments are used to assist in putting the teeth back into the proper alignment and position. They may also work with different issues that negatively impact jaw development and facial growth. When most people think of orthodontics, they think about braces and teeth straightening and this is a major aspect of what this field does.

What Can an Orthodontist Help With?

Orthodontic treatments involve using various dental devices, such as braces, plates and headgear to correct various dental problems. These can include the following:

  • Closing gaps between teeth
  • Straightening crooked teeth
  • Improving long-term teeth and gum health
  • Treating an improper bite
  • Aligning the tips of the teeth
  • Improving oral function
  • Preventing trauma or long-term excessive wear of teeth

Who is Able to Get Orthodontic Treatment?

In most cases, this type of treatment can begin around 12 to 13 years of age. Orthodontists typically want to see fully developed adult teeth so that they can manipulate these into a permanent position. However, this can start later in life too, and many people are opting to get things like braces after they enter adulthood.

When issues are severe, this treatment may start younger than 12 years old. A good example of this is a cleft lip. These are usually corrected when a person is still a small child. Click here to learn more about how an orthodontist may be able to help with your dental issues.

How Are Orthodontic Issues Diagnosed?

When you first see an orthodontist you will have a full oral examination to look at the state of your teeth and overall oral health. Diagnostic procedures are commonly done and these may include:

  • Dental health and medical health history
  • Jaw and teeth X-rays
  • Clinical examination
  • Plaster models of your teeth

How Are Orthodontic Issues Treated?

Once your problem has been identified, your orthodontist may choose to use either removable or fixed orthodontic appliances. Fixed appliances are the most common and are used with it is critical that precision is used. Fixed appliances will stay in your mouth for a specified amount of time. Braces are the most common type of fixed appliance. There are many different types of braces now, but they all are used for the same goal, and that is to straighten the teeth. Other fixed appliances may include:

  • Special fixed appliances
  • Fixed space maintainers

Removable appliances are those that can be taken out to do things like eat, drink and brush your teeth. Some of these only need to be worn when you are sleeping, so they offer convenience. Aligners are a popular example of a removable appliance. Invisalign braces are a type of aligner that can be used to straighten the teeth, and they can be removed when you are eating or performing oral hygiene. Other types of removable appliances include:

  • Headgear
  • Palatal expander
  • Removable space maintainers
  • Lip and cheek bumpers
  • Removable retainers
  • Splints
  • Removable space maintainers