What is orthodontics? Orthodontics is a dental specialty that focuses on diagnosing, preventing, and treating tooth misalignment and jaw irregularities.
Crooked teeth detract from a person’s appearance and can impact their health and well-being. This is because crooked teeth make it harder to brush and floss effectively, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Orthodontics refers to using dental devices to correct issues with the alignment and position of teeth and underlying bone. This includes braces, headgear, jaw surgery, and other treatment methods to straighten teeth and address jaw pain and other problems.
Patients with crooked teeth can often suffer from tooth decay and gum disease and have difficulty cleaning between their teeth. These issues can lead to several other oral health concerns, and orthodontic treatment can help with those issues too.
Braces work by gradually moving the teeth and causing the bone holding them in place to change shape. They can also make it easier for patients to brush their teeth and avoid cavities.
Invisalign® is a system of transparent braces that straightens teeth with invisible aligners. They are custom-molded to fit your mouth and gradually reposition teeth into a desired smile.
While it is a standard orthodontic treatment, the cost can be high, especially without insurance coverage. Some dentists, orthodontists, and dental school clinics offer discounts or payment plans.
If you have a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA), those funds can help offset the treatment costs. Moreover, some community health centers offer low-cost or free initial appointments and payment plans.
Another significant advantage of Invisalign over metal braces is that it is removable. You can remove the aligners to eat and brush your teeth, but you must ensure that food or liquid does not seep into them. This can cause bacteria to grow and lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Clear aligners are one of many technologies that orthodontists use to straighten teeth, reducing discomfort and creating a more natural-looking smile. In addition, they move teeth a little at a time, making treatment more comfortable than with traditional braces.
To get the best results from clear aligners, patients must wear them for at least 20 hours daily and change them every 1-2 weeks. This makes it easier for orthodontists to monitor their progress and adjust the aligners accordingly.
However, clear aligners can lead to extended treatment times and subpar results if worn incorrectly. The reason is teeth only move when forces are consistently applied, and if patients aren’t disciplined enough to wear them 22 hours a day, the results will be compromised.
As with other orthodontic treatments, clear aligners are an excellent option for those who want a straighter smile but don’t have the patience or desire for metal braces. They are also a perfect way to improve dental health, reducing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Jaw surgery corrects bite alignment problems or deformities that cause chewing, speaking, or breathing difficulties. It also improves facial aesthetics and self-esteem.
In this surgery, the bone behind your molars is cut, and the front of your jaw is moved forward or backward to reposition it. Plates and screws hold your jaw in its new position as it heals.
This procedure is sometimes performed with a genioplasty: cutting the chin bone and repositioning it to improve your facial appearance. For example, the chin bone is slid backward or shortened to improve your smile line or to reduce the appearance of a small chin.
In some cases, jaw surgery can also help control a sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. This condition occurs when your airway is blocked and stops and starts during sleep, causing lower blood oxygen levels, snoring, restless sleep, fatigue, daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, cardiac issues, and more.