For most, the term “orthodontist” conjures up horrible images of children with a mouthful of metal, terrifying headgear, and retainers. Friends who already had an embarrassing overbite were forced to wear painful rows of braces for a matter of years, when they were already cursed with acne and bad bangs. The only thing worse than puberty, was the awful lisp that came with wearing retainers.
Luckily, there have been great strides made in the field of orthodontics. There are many options for the work done to your mouth these days, from the traditional braces, to invisible braces, to Invisalign. Even teeth whitening has gotten better and more efficient. It used to be that only young people could get work done; adults healing time was too long. Now, anyone can have the smile they really want.
Crowding, or malocclusion, happens when your teeth are misaligned. Usually, this involves the teeth not matching up on the top and bottom. Your teeth don’t fit in your mouth the way they should, and cause all kinds of problems. Sometimes, it is severe enough to include skeletal disharmony of the face, and the shape of the face is affected. Chewing or speech problems are also common problems.
An overbite occurs when the vertical teeth overlap the bottom ones. Quite simply, the upper teeth stick out past the lower teeth, giving the jaw an unattractive look. Though many people have some form of overbite, only a small percentage have one that is actually noticeable and that would need correcting. An overbite can lead to jaw pain or gum disease.
An underbite (prognathism) is what happens when a person’s lower jaw protrudes more than their upper jaw. Often hereditary, it can change the way a person’s face looks. It can affect speech and chewing.
There are many fixes for these common issues, and many benefits to correcting these problems.
Most problems can be fixed through some type of orthodontic apparatus. These include braces, invisible braces, and Invisalign treatments.
Old-fashioned, dental braces are still some of the most effective ways to realign teeth. Braces move the teeth via a combination of force and pressure. Wires are strung across the teeth, and rubber bands are used to anchor them in place. They are commonly worn for two and a half years, to fully realign the teeth and help any dental issues.
Invisible braces use the same methods as regular braces, but there are two types of invisible braces. The first uses clear brackets that reduce friction and binding. The other kind has thicker wires that go behind the teeth, so no part of the braces are visible. These are both more cosmetic ways to go about realigning teeth. You can still easily brush and floss your teeth with invisible braces.
The third most common way to move teeth is the Invisalign system. Invisalign has come on the scene and is quickly become the most preferred method to straighten your teeth. Through the years advancements in Invisalign technology has allowed it to be used more and more and now virtually anyone is a candidate. Invisalign is a clear tray that goes over the teeth to move them gradually. The aligning trays are custom-made for your teeth, and a new set is issued every two weeks. These are completely invisible, and once you get used to speaking with them in, no one needs to know you are using them.
Orthodontic offices all over the United States are seeing a rise in adult orthodontics, due to the ease in which it can now be done. This is due to jaw pain and a desire to improve appearance. While it may take slightly longer to have corrective procedures done as an adult than as a child, people all over are more inclined to improve their smiles.