The field of orthodontics can be confusing for people who do not understand it, even for those who are undergoing treatment. Essentially, this area of dentistry helps patients achieve a beautiful smile with straight teeth. That being said, not everyone knows how orthodontists straighten teeth or the methods that are used.
When people think of getting straight teeth, braces usually come to mind. While this is not incorrect, there is much more to it than that. In fact, orthodontic treatment relies on several methods that all work together to help patients achieve straighter teeth.
The first step of most orthodontics care is for the orthodontist to get a clear understanding of a patient’s teeth and mouth. Therefore, a thorough examination is conducted. This often includes taking X-rays to see the interior of the mouth, including tooth roots, and making a mold of a patient’s teeth. Some orthodontists use advanced scanning technology that makes a digital 3D impression rather than using the old manual method, which allows for more precise and accurate results.
Fixing other problems
This may occur before or during treatment with braces. Usually, treatment such as expanding the palette, removing teeth to help with overcrowding and placing spacers is all done before using braces in orthodontics. However, correcting the placement of the jaw, or bite, can be performed while a patient is wearing braces. This can usually be done with the use of rubber bands or headgear. The initial examination and consultation with an orthodontist determines if a patient has any issues that need to be addressed in order for the braces to perform effectively.
Once all the pre-treatment procedures are completed, braces can be used. These days, there are many different types of tooth-straightening technologies, including "invisible" aligners as well the traditional wire and brackets braces. The field of orthodontics is constantly evolving to incorporate newer technology for straightening teeth. However, braces are still the standard method used to help patients achieve straight teeth.
Once the braces are removed, treatment still continues. Braces work by exerting pressure on the teeth and forcing them to shift positions a little bit at a time. Once this force is gone, the teeth can begin to revert back to the original positions if left alone. That is why the final and semi-permanent stage of orthodontics is typically to use a retainer. Patients may have several choices for retainers:
Hawley retainers: These are the traditional wire and acrylic removable retainers that fit around the teeth.
Clear retainers: These removable retainers look similar to invisible braces and are clear trays that mold around the teeth’s new shape to prevent the teeth from shifting.
Permanent retainers: These are adhered to the back of a patient’s teeth and cannot be removed.
Orthodontics is all about straightening teeth and fixing the appearance of a person’s smile. This is a several-step procedure that requires great care and maintenance. However, if you want to have a straighter smile, orthodontic treatment may be the solution.
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