Orthodontia refers to the specialized dentistry service that is focused on the realignment of crowded or poorly spaced teeth. There are many methods to realigning teeth, including traditional metal braces, ceramic braces and the newer Invisalign method.
Historically, orthodontia has been used most often in children or young adults, whose mouths are still forming and whose teeth are still easily able to shift and move to adjust into a more pleasing and healthy smile. However, in recent years, adults have begun using orthodontist services to create healthier and more cosmetically attractive smiles. Generally, orthodontic services are covered by dental insurance, but check with your dental insurance company for verification before starting orthodontic treatment.
There are a number of conditions that are addressed by the use of orthodontia. These conditions include problems with bite (over-bite and under-bite), crowding of teeth and poorly spaced teeth.
The problems associated with over- and under-bites can be difficult to address and often require the patient to wear some form of headgear, in addition to bands in the mouth that assist with moving teeth either forward or backward. Rubber or plastic bands may also be applied to speed up or slow down the movement of teeth in relation to the changes occurring in the placement of the jaw.
Overcrowded teeth are one of the most common reasons for orthodontic braces. Overcrowded teeth can result in problems with chewing food, plus difficulties with tooth decay and cavities. In severe cases, speech and social interaction can be affected also. Often, the problem of overcrowded teeth is the result of a small mouth with inadequate space for adult teeth. Orthodontic treatment of overcrowded teeth often results in removal of adult teeth to make room for the remaining teeth.
There are several types of braces available, ranging from old-fashioned full metal bands to ceramic, plastic or metal brackets to invisible alignment trays .
Full Metal Brackets – full metal braces tend to be the least expensive and most economical form of braces. However, these braces also have their drawbacks. Since the bands surround the entire tooth and remain for an extended length of time ranging from months to years, the risk of cavities is somewhat high.
Brackets – brackets are usually made of ceramic or metal and are bonded or glued to the front of each tooth. Each bracket has a ligature on it that can be decorated in different colors, making them fun for children to wear.
Lingual – lingual braces actually attach to the back of the teeth, making them invisible to others who do not know of their presence. Lingual braces can be very attractive to adults.
Invisible Braces – invisible braces are a series of clear plastic trays, called ‚”aligners‚” that are custom-formed to the teeth. The trays are changed approximately every two weeks and teeth are slowly adjusted into alignment. The Invisalign system is the most popular brand of invisible braces and is recommended for adults or teens who need relatively mild alignment adjustments.
Orthodontics address problems related to tooth alignment , such as overcrowding of teeth and over- and under-bites. Several different kinds of braces are available, including traditional, full metal braces, brackets, lingual and invisible braces.