How Do Orthodontics Work?
Most people envision the ideal smile as being straight and symmetrical, but few people are actually born with that smile. It is far more common for individuals to suffer from malocclusion problems, like crooked teeth, gapped teeth, overcrowded teeth, or a misaligned bite. These types of issues not only compromise the appearance of the smile, but can also impact oral health and functions.
Orthodontics corrects malocclusion problems to give individuals a straight smile and well aligned bite. But exactly how do orthodontics work? Here, the dentists from The Smile Center in Virginia Beach, VA, provide an overview of the orthodontic treatments offered at their dental practice, and explain how orthodontic treatment works to overcome malocclusion problems.
Orthodontic Treatments and Devices
In the past, people only had one option when it came to orthodontic treatment, and that was traditional metal braces. While traditional braces are effective and still widely used, there are additional orthodontic techniques available to our Virginia Beach patients, including tooth-colored braces and Invisalign.
Braces and tooth-colored braces are essentially the same treatment. Each is made up of a series of brackets and wires that are bonded to the teeth to encourage necessary movement. The difference is that tooth-colored braces use tooth-colored brackets and wires, whereas the brackets and wires used in traditional braces treatment are metal.
Invisalign is a newer orthodontic technique. This teeth straightening method does not use any wires or brackets. Instead, patients are given a series of clear plastic aligner trays. Throughout Invisalign treatment, patients progress through these aligners until their teeth and jaw are in proper alignment.
Some orthodontic treatments may also involve additional devices that assist in achieving teeth straightening results. Depending on each patient’s needs, braces or Invisalign treatment may require the use of an expander, coiled springs, or rubber bands.
Correcting Malocclusion Problems With Orthodontics
Patients may undergo orthodontic treatment using any of the methods mentioned above, and every procedure is tailored to the patient’s unique needs, so each orthodontic case varies slightly. Despite the different methods, techniques, and devices that may be used, the basis of orthodontic treatment is the same. Orthodontics encourages the teeth and jaw to move into proper position so that patients enjoy a straight smile that is well aligned and able to function properly.
So how exactly does orthodontic treatment encourage the teeth and jaw to move? It is all about subtle and consistent pressure. Whether patients are undergoing treatment with braces or Invisalign, the devices place gentle force on the teeth. As orthodontic treatment progresses and the teeth and jaw begin to move, orthodontic devices are adjusted to ensure that subtle pressure continues to be applied. Over the span of many months, the teeth and jaw gradually shift until they have reached their ideal position.
Maintaining Orthodontic Treatment Results
Orthodontic treatment is effective, but our Virginia Beach patients should understand that, once treatment is complete, the teeth and jaw may want to move back out of alignment. This does not happen suddenly, but can occur gradually over time. To prevent the teeth or jaw from moving out of their proper position, patients are likely to be given a retainer. A retainer fits over the teeth and serves to hold the teeth and jaw in place. Retainers are generally worn all the time for a few months following treatment, and then overnight for the rest of the patient’s life.
If crooked teeth or a misaligned bite are interfering with oral functions or making you feel self-conscious about your smile, you are likely an ideal candidate for orthodontic treatment. To learn more about the orthodontic techniques offered at The Smile Center, contact our dental practice online or call (757) 473-8482 at your earliest convenience.