A specialty type of dental treatment, orthodontics is most frequently associated with metal braces. Yet this field of specialty can involve treatment for any jaw and tooth positioning issues, so that the teeth are able to function most effectively. The particular way that upper and lower teeth are able to meet when they are in a biting position is known as an occlusion. The goal of a orthodontic treatment is to get this occlusion in the ideal alignment. Although orthodontic treatment can take place at virtually any age, most dentists will prefer to see patients around the age of twelve or thirteen for ideal treatment purposes.
At this age, children will have shed all of their baby teeth, but they won’t have yet hit a growth spurt, which can make the treatment work easier and more quickly. Younger patients have immature bones and teeth, which are easier to reposition, and they are also less likely to have had other dental treatments or surgeries which could get in the way of the orthodontics. However, even though this may be the ideal age for this type of treatment, with today’s wide range of technological options out there it’s possible to move and realign your teeth in the optimal position no matter what your age might be.
Some examples of the types of problems that orthodontics can treat include crooked or crowded teeth, teeth which stick out at odd angles, overbites, underbites and a misaligned jaw. If there are spaces or gaps in between the teeth, these can also be corrected with orthodontic treatments. The end goal is to get a straight, healthy smile that makes way for further tooth growth. When there is a problem with the bite, this can impact the overall health, making it more likely for teeth to get damaged down the line. Another benefit of receiving proper orthodontic treatment is that it can enhance the overall facial appearance.
If you think that you might benefit from orthodontics, the first step is to have a consultation with your dentist. Not all dentists will be trained with orthodontic dentistry procedures, so if your regular dentist doesn’t perform these services, you will be referred to a specialist orthodontist. During this initial consultation, your dentist or orthodontist will look carefully at your existing bite, looking at X-rays as well of any teeth that have yet to come in. With this information in hand, a plan can be worked out.
In most cases, full orthodontic treatment will last anywhere from 18 months to three years in duration. However, this number can vary quite a bit depending on a patient’s age and condition. It may be necessary to remove a few teeth in order to make room for the changes to come, particularly if you have a small mouth that is overcrowded with teeth. These are just a few of the factors to consider before beginning treatment. Today’s orthodontics methods are more convenient than ever before, however, as a product of the latest dental technology.