Orthodontics is the dental practice of diagnosing, preventing and correcting dental and facial irregularities. It requires the skills of a trained professional in order to determine the proper design, application and control of corrective appliances, such as braces to properly align teeth, jaws and lips.
Importance of orthodontics
Although orthodontics is generally seen as a means to a more beautiful smile, it’s not all about aesthetics. In addition to properly aligning teeth, jaws and lips, orthodontic treatments can also help to alleviate and prevent physical health issues such as:
Aligning teeth, lips and jaws also increase the functionality of your teeth and allows for easier and more thorough cleaning. Orthodontic treatment can also help to build confidence and can help address self-esteem issues.
When discussing orthodontics, you may hear the word malocclusion quite often. It’s a technical term which literally means “bad bite” and refers to crooked, crowded or protruding teeth which do not fit properly together. Although most malocclusions are inherited, they can also be caused by thumb sucking, premature loss of primary teeth or tongue thrusting to name a few. Because most orthodontic problems are easier to correct with early detection, it’s important for children to be seen for an initial assessment by age 7.
Metal braces use constant, gentle pressure, which over time, move teeth into their proper positions. Your braces are at work every moment of your orthodontic treatment. The two main components of your metal braces are: the brackets that are placed on your teeth and the main archwire that connects them. The bracket is a piece of shaped metal or ceramic that we affix to each tooth.
The wire threads through the brackets and, as the wire tries to return to its original shape, it applies pressure to move your teeth. Attached to your braces, elastics (rubber bands) exert the proper force that creates the right amount of pressure to move teeth. In order for this force to remain constant, elastics must be worn all the time and changed every day.