Orthodontics is one of many dental specialties. Orthodontics is specifically concerned with diagnosing and treating tooth misalignment and irregularity in the jaw area. Initially, orthodontic treatments were geared toward the treatment of teens and pre-teens, but today around 30 percent of orthodontic patients are adults.
There are many advantages to well-aligned teeth, including easier cleaning, better oral hygiene, clearer speech and a more pleasant smile.
What problems can be treated with orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a versatile branch of dentistry that can be used alone, or in combination with maxillofacial or cosmetic dentistry.
Here are some of the common conditions treated with orthodontics:
Anteroposterior deviations – The discrepancy between a pair of closed jaws is known as an anteroposterior discrepancy or deviation. An example of such a discrepancy would be an overbite (where the upper teeth are further forward than the lower teeth), or an underbite (where the lower teeth are further forward then the upper teeth).
Overcrowding – Overcrowding is a common orthodontic problem. It occurs when there is an insufficient space for the normal growth and development of adult teeth.
Aesthetic problems – A beautiful straight smile may be marred by a single misaligned tooth. This tooth can be realigned with ease and accuracy by the orthodontist. Alternatively, orthodontists can also work to reshape and restructure the lips, jaw or the face.
Orthodontics is a technologically advanced field which offers many sophisticated solutions to malocclusions and other cosmetic problems. The orthodontist will generally perform a visual examination, panoramic X-rays, and study models (bite impressions) in order to assess the exact nature of the discrepancy.
When a diagnosis has been made, there are a variety of orthodontic treatment options available.
Here is an overview of some of the most common treatments:
Fixed orthodontic braces – A metal or ceramic bracket is affixed to each tooth, and a dental archwire is inserted through each bracket. The orthodontist is able to gradually move the teeth into proper alignment by regularly adjusting the archwire. When the desired results are achieved, the fixed dental braces are completely removed.
Removable appliances – There are a wide range of removable appliances commonly used in orthodontics, including headgear that correct overbites, Hawley retainers that improve the position of the teeth even as the jawbone reforms.
Invisalign® – This is a newer, removable type of computer designed dental aligner that is completely transparent. Invisalign® does not interfere with eating because of its removable nature, and mechanically works in the same way as the traditional metal dental braces. Not all patients are candidates for Invisalign®.
Dr. Sterley works with many Indianapolis area, board certified orthodontists who can achieve the esthetic and functional desires of the patient.
If you have any questions or concerns about orthodontics, please contact our office.