Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that treats malocclusion, a condition in which the teeth are not correctly positioned when the mouth is closed.
This results in an improper bite such as an overbite or underbite.
Types of Orthodontic Treatments
An orthodontist can carry out work that aims to achieve the following:
- Closing wide gaps between the teeth
- Aligning the tips of the teeth
- Straightening crooked teeth
- Improving speech or chewing ability
- Boosting the long-term health of gums and teeth
- Preventing long-term excessive wear or trauma of the teeth
- Treating an improper bite
Treatment can improve the overall appearance of the teeth, but it can also lead to a better chewing and speech function and help protect teeth from damage or decay, in some cases.
To achieve these goals, the orthodontist uses a range of medical dental devices, including headgear, plates, aligners and braces.
Who Should See an Orthodontist?
If the jaws and teeth do not develop properly, malocclusion can result. The teeth will be crooked and misaligned, and the bottom and top sets of teeth may not line up.
Malocclusion is not a disease and it does not affect physical health. It is simply a variation in the position of teeth.
However, it may impact the shape of the face and the appearance of the teeth, resulting in embarrassment, a lack of self-confidence, and even depression.
Reasons may include injury to the teeth or facial bones and frequent thumb or finger sucking, among others.
An orthodontist specializes in making the teeth straight.
Treatment can be cosmetic, to improve a person’s appearance, but it often aims to improve oral function, too.