Benefits of Orthodontics
Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that is concerned with diagnosing, treating and preventing malocclusions (bad bites) and other irregularities of the dentition, the jaws and face. Orthodontists are specially trained to correct these problems and to restore health, functionality while creating a beautiful aesthetic appearance to the smile. Though historically, orthodontics was originally aimed at treating children and teenagers, almost one third of orthodontic patients are now adults. A person of any age can be successfully treated by an orthodontist.
A malocclusion can affect anyone at any age, and can significantly impact the individual’s clarity of speech, chewing ability, facial symmetry and facial balance. In addition, a severe malocclusion can also contribute to several serious dental and physical conditions such as digestive difficulties, TMJ, periodontal disease and severe tooth decay. It is important to seek orthodontic treatment early to avoid expensive restorative procedures in the future.
What problems can orthodontics treat?
Orthodontics can treat a wide range of dental problems and in most cases, completely realign the teeth. Orthodontists may work alone, or in combination with other dental specialists (eg. Periodontist, Oral and maxillofacial surgeon) depending on your needs.
The typical irregularities requiring orthodontic treatment are as follows:
Overcrowding – An overcrowded mouth means there is insufficient space within the jaw for all of the adult teeth to fit naturally. Overcrowding may lead to displaced, rotated or completely misaligned teeth.
Overjet – An overjet refers to the protrusive forward position of the maxilla (upper jaw) and teeth relative to the mandible (lower jaw), which is commonly referred to as an “overbite”. Overjet gives the smile a “toothy” and protrusive appearance and the chin looks like it has receded.
Underbite – An underbite, also known as a negative underjet or “underbite”, refers to the protrusion of the mandible (lower jaw) in relation to the maxilla (upper jaw). An underbite makes the chin look overly prominent. Developmental delays and genetic factors generally cause underbites and overbites.
Crossbite – Crossbites occur when the upper teeth sit inside (lingual crossbite) the lower teeth or when they sit too wide or completely outside (buccal crossbite) of the lower teeth. Lingual crossbites usually the result when the maxilla (upper jaw) is too narrow relative to the lower jaw or an abnormally wide lower jaw. Buccal crossbites occur when the opposite is observed, an abnormally wide maxilla or relatively narrow mandible (lower jaw).