Orthodontics: The Straight Scoop on Fixing Crooked Teeth
There’s more to it than being a “metal mouth”
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the practice of fixing misaligned or crooked teeth and jaws. Using your dental health history, a dental exam, teeth molds and x-rays, an orthodontist can determine if you’d benefit from orthodontics and recommend a customized treatment plan.
Treatment usually involves placing dental appliances (such as braces, spacers, expanders, retainers and headgear) in the mouth to shift teeth, re-train muscles and control jaw growth.
Why get orthodontic treatment?
Properly aligned teeth and jaws are important to effectively eat and speak. Plus, usually you get a better-looking smile! This can do wonders for higher self-esteem and confidence.
Left untreated, crooked teeth can:
- Be harder to keep clean
- Be lost due to tooth decay and periodontal disease
- Cause muscle stress that can lead to headaches and other painful conditions
- Make you embarrassed about your appearance
Common orthodontic conditions
Here are some common conditions that may require orthodontic treatment. Only your dentist or orthodontist can make a proper diagnosis.
- Overbite: Upper front teeth stick out over the lower teeth
- Underbite: Lower teeth sit too far forward from upper teeth
- Crossbite: Upper teeth bite down awkwardly inside lower teeth
- Spacing: Gaps between the teeth when teeth don’t fill the mouth
- Crowding: Not enough room in the jaw to accommodate teeth
What if I ignore my orthodontic problem?
Untreated orthodontic issues can lead to:
- Tooth decay
- Periodontal disease
- Worn-down teeth
- Tooth loss
Children and orthodontics
Think your child’s teeth are at risk? Consult with an orthodontist before the first sign of a larger problem. Why? Because it’s easier to adjust teeth in a younger, growing jaw than in a mature mouth that is more resistant to tooth movement.
Is orthodontic treatment expensive?
Orthodontic treatment can be expensive. But if problems are diagnosed and handled early, it may save thousands of dollars in future care. It is important to understand your insurance plan before undergoing treatment.