What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry. It corrects improperly positioned jaws and teeth, It involves applying gentle pressure on teeth to make them move in a desired direction. Teeth are moved with applying slight pressure which breaks down the bone tissues and rebuild it alongside. While teeth are being moved, patients must wear certain appliances like braces, or aligners. At the end of the treatment also, the patient has to wear retainers to keep the teeth which has been moved in place for a while.
It also includes correction of crooked teeth, misaligned jaws and improper bites. With the help of orthodontics ailments like tooth decay, periodontal disease and cleanliness issues of the crooked, misaligned teeth and gum can be prevented. While dealing with the issues of misalignment, one major benefit is the improved appearance and beautiful smile which goes a long way because of its psychological implications.
Who can benefit from orthodontic treatment?
People who have crooked teeth, faulty bite and misaligned teeth can benefit, by orthodontics. Today people who have teeth which prevents them from giving a beautiful smile benefit most from orthodontics, because in addition to correcting teeth abnormalities, orthodontics also give them beautiful smile. In fact, for many people, getting a beautiful smile is enough for spending time and money on orthodontic treatment.
What are the devices used in orthodontics?
To move the teeth in a desired direction the orthodontics use many appliances, including braces and aligners. Braces are devices which uses anchorage and wires that apply pressure on the teeth to move and keep the pressure on.
Can adults go for orthodontic treatment?
Yes, adults too can go for orthodontics. Initially only teenagers were seen with braces. Now more and more people realize the need for orthodontics, regardless of their age. Orthodontics not only helps in correcting misaligned teeth but also prevents tooth decay and gum diseases. Adult teeth structure is different from a teenager’s structure of teeth and mouth. Adults have stopped growing teeth and their teeth are settled. Teenagers are still growing and their teeth are still not fully hardened and encased and therefore easier to move.
But all teeth are able to move and they do move all the time if there is space to move. When adults go for orthodontic treatment, the dentist will take into consideration the movement of teeth at a particular age, keep that in mind while developing a plan for the adult. So, adults may have a different strategy for teeth alignment than teenagers, but it is not impossible. It is only a question of various strategies to move the teeth in desired direction in the case of mature people and it may take a little longer in adults than teenagers whose teeth are not yet fully matured.
Can medical conditions of adults affect teeth alignment treatment?
The bone structure of adults is different from teenagers and the dentist will opt for a different strategy for an adult for moving teeth, but it is available. The difference in treatment will also be required if the adult is undergoing treatment for some other ailment and is on medicine. But there is no cause for worry because before starting the treatment, the orthodontic surgeon will consult your family physician to get acquainted with your current health status. The team which will carry out your orthodontic treatment consist of your family dentist, your family physician and the orthodontic surgeon.
Is it normal for adults now to get orthodontic treatment?
Yes it is normal for adults to go for consultation to their dentist for considering orthodontics for themselves. There are many options open for adults for getting this treatment and your dentist will list all the available options and variables when discussing orthodontics for adults.
It is estimated that about a quarter of the patients going for orthodontics are adults.
Can orthodontics affect original teeth?
When orthodontics may be suggested for an adult, many of them wonder whether it will be possible for them to keep their original teeth. In fact, orthodontic treatment not only keep their teeth intact but also help retain their teeth longer because corrected bit and jaw alignment makes it possible to help keep teeth clean so that tooth decay is prevented and gum diseases are avoided as brushing and flossing becomes easier in well aligned teeth. Orthodontics also help in preventing tooth loss because proper bite ensures that right kind of pressure is applied on teeth so as to keep the teeth in place for longer by reducing improper pressure on them.
Can an adult with missing teeth get orthodontic treatment?
When the adult patient has missing teeth, the orthodontic practitioner will consider moving the neighbouring teeth closer together to fill the gap. If the gap is not possible to fill, then they may consider keeping the gap intact so that it can be filled by making a bridge over it or even implant can be inserted if feasible.
Can teeth alignment treatment be done at home?
Some people wonder whether it possible to do the alignment treatment at home like a few other treatments for teeth. Orthodontics is a very specialised field and it is not possible to carry out the teeth alignment treatments at home because it requires much specialised equipment and each individual requires a detailed plan suitable to his specific needs. Unlike other dental treatment like teeth whitening process, teeth alignment procedures are intensive and demand attention to detail.
Gum disease and teeth alignment
Many dentists advise their adult patients to consult an orthodontist if they have mild to severe gum disease, because one of the reasons for gum disease could be misaligned teeth and jaws. Once the teeth get properly aligned, the bite becomes proper and there are no gaps between teeth and jaws and correct amount of pressure on the teeth. With corrected teeth and gums, and equalised pressure, gum disease can be controlled through orthodontics.