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Orthodontics and Their Role in Straightening Teeth
Orthodontics is used to improve a person’s appearance by fixing the problems that they have with their teeth. An orthodontist can straighten one’s teeth and fix problems like gaps in the teeth as well as bite problems, restoring the functionality of the patient’s teeth.
How is orthodontics used to straighten teeth?
When it comes to orthodontics, the treatment is often used to improve oral function, but it can also be cosmetic. If the treatment is for teeth straightening, orthodontists usually treat the problem with either fixed or removable orthodontic appliances, depending on the patient and the severity of their condition.
What are fixed orthodontic appliances?
Fixed orthodontic appliances are the most commonly used devices in orthodontics, especially when precision is required. Even though the appliances are fixed in the mouth, the patient can still eat normally. However, there are certain types of foods and drinks that they have to avoid while wearing the appliance to avoid causing damage to both the appliance and the teeth.
Some of the most commonly used fixed orthodontic appliances include:
- Braces: Braces consist of brackets, wires and bands. The bands are firmly fixed around the teeth and serve as anchors for the device, while the brackets are usually bonded to the front of the teeth. The wires pass through the brackets and are fixed to the bands before being tightened to apply pressure to the teeth and gradually move them into the desired position
- Fixed space maintainers: These are used on young children after they lose a baby tooth. A space maintainer will prevent the two teeth at either side of the space created by the missing baby tooth from moving into the space until the adult tooth erupts
- Special fixed appliances: These devices are used to control thumb sucking or tongue thrusting. Due to the fact that they can be uncomfortable, especially when eating, they are only used if necessary
What are removable orthodontic appliances?
These are often used to treat less severe problems with the teeth. Since the appliances are removable, they can be taken out when the patient wants to eat, brush their teeth and clean the appliances.
Some of the most commonly used removable appliances are:
- Aligners: These are an alternative to braces, especially for adults who want to straighten their teeth discreetly. They are virtually unnoticeable and can be removed when the patient wants to eat or brush their teeth
- Headgear: This is used to slow down upper jaw growth and to keep the back teeth in position while the front teeth are pulled back
- Palatal expanders: These appliances are designed to widen the arch of the upper jaw. A palatal expander consists of a plastic plate and screws, which are placed on the roof of the mouth
- Retainers: These have to be worn after the teeth straightening treatment is complete to prevent the teeth from moving back into their old positions. When modified, they can be used to stop children from sucking on their thumbs
Orthodontics is used to straighten teeth and fix other problems with the teeth, helping to improve your appearance and the functionality of your teeth. If you are thinking about straightening your teeth, schedule an appointment with your dentist to go over your orthodontic treatment options.
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