Orthodontics is the specialty of correcting irregularity of your teeth. There are a couple procedures, such as braces and other devices specifically used to improve your smile. These methods work by applying continuous pressure to your teeth – over a period of time – to slowly redirect or move your teeth in a specific direction. The goal is to give you the perfect straight smile.
What is Orthodontics used to repair?
- To straighten misaligned teeth
- To straighten crooked teeth
- To spread out crowded teeth
- To repair an overbite
- To repair an under bite
- To repair spread out teeth, such as large gaps.
What should I expect?
Your orthodontist will consult with you, and ask questions about your health and goals, to find out if you are a good candidate for orthodontics. The orthodontist will also perform an exam, gather impressions of your teeth, take digital images of your face and teeth, and take x-rays of your mouth. This is all very necessary as this will give you and the orthodontist realistic expectations of what this procedure can do for you. This information helps the orthodontist create a plan based on how best to treat your specific case.
The treatment time varies on a case by case basis, and is completely dependent on the severity of the problem. Key things that influence that, are the distance your teeth must travel, the overall health of your teeth, the amount of room available in your mouth and if you, the patient, follow the rules or guidelines given to you by the orthodontist.
What are the treatments available?
Invisalign® is the newest method out there and a great alternative to regular braces. Invisalign uses clear, removable aligners to straighten your teeth, without the use of metal or wires. Unlike the old days, this is a method that allows you to straighten your smile, with a virtually invisible device. It is commonly referred to as the contact lenses for teeth. An added benefit is they are removable, which allows you to eat what you want, drink what you want and maintain good oral hygiene, because you can take them out while you brush your teeth or floss. Treatment time is relatively short, anywhere from 6 months to 1 1⁄2 years, but as everything, is on a case by case basis. After treatment, you will have to wear a retainer to keep your smile optimal.
Ordinary Braces are very common and made of stainless steel. They are cemented directly to your tooth, and then attached to each other via a metal wire, or an anchor. These wires guide your teeth into place. You can expect to wear them anywhere from 1 to 3 years, but again, time is on a case by case basis. Although they do come in stainless steel, you do have the option for lighter colors of different materials, like plastic or ceramic. The negatives about those types, are they stain easier, and usually it takes longer for your results. However, many believe they look much better than the typical metal, steel look. After treatment, you will have to wear a retainer to keep your smile optimal.
Will these methods be painful?
Sometimes, the adjustments made can be a little painful, because the teeth are being pulled into place. However, the pain is minimal and can be solved with a simple over the counter medicine, like Tylenol. If you do experience greater pain, which is very rare, you should consult with your orthodontist to possibly change the way your adjustments are being made.