Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that focuses on diagnosing and treating malocclusion or “bad bites.” The way your teeth fit together has a significant impact on your oral health. By improving the way your upper and lower teeth meet, you can reduce your risk for a host of oral health issues, including cavities, gum disease and excessive wear (erosion).
Almost everyone can gain some benefit from orthodontics. But some people need treatment more than others. Many people seek orthodontic treatment because they want to improve the appearance of their smile. But in addition to cosmetic benefits, orthodontics offers improved chewing function and better oral health.
Types of orthodontic problems include:
- Overjet, when your upper teeth stick out over your lower teeth.
- Underbite, when your lower teeth stick out further than your upper teeth.
- Overlapping teeth.
- Crowded teeth.
- Crooked teeth.
- Rotated teeth.
- Impacted teeth (which are partially or fully trapped in your jawbone).
The cosmetic benefits of orthodontics are clear. But these treatments offer functional and health-related advantages as well:
- When your teeth are in proper alignment, they’re much easier to clean.
- Straightening your teeth can improve chewing and speech function.
- Orthodontic treatment can ease pain related to TMJ
- An aligned bite can reduce your risk for cavities, gum disease and other oral health issues.
- Orthodontics can help you achieve and maintain a beautiful, healthy smile.
There are several treatments that fall under the specialty of orthodontics including:
Braces – Braces gradually shift your teeth into their desired positions over time using a combination of brackets, bands and wires. There are different types of braces depending on your needs, including traditional metal braces and ceramic (clear) braces.
Clear aligners – Clear orthodontic aligners are a popular alternative to braces. Rather than using brackets and wires to straighten your teeth, these systems use a series of custom-made, clear aligner trays. You wear each set of trays for one to two weeks before switching them out for the next set in the series. Over time, the clear aligners shift your teeth into their proper positions.
Retainers – If you wear braces or clear aligners, you’ll need a retainer once your orthodontic treatment ends. A retainer is a custom oral appliance that keeps your teeth from drifting out of their proper positions.
If you have crooked, overlapped, twisted or gapped teeth then you can benefit by aligning your bite and straightening your teeth with Dr. Soto The Downey Dentist.
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