Orthodontics is a specialty discipline of dentistry that focuses on alignment of the teeth and jaws to improve a person’s smile, bite and oral health. Orthodontists will diagnose, treat and prevent irregularities of the teeth with the use of fixed braces and removable dental appliances. These devices can be used to straighten teeth, correct an irregular bite, close unsightly gaps and bring teeth and lips into proper alignment. Crooked teeth that do not fit together correctly are harder to keep clean and may be at risk of early loss because of tooth decay or periodontal disease.
The benefits of orthodontics include a healthier mouth, a more pleasing appearance, and teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime.
Why are more adults getting braces?
As braces have become less bulky and visible in recent years, more and more adults are wearing them, for a variety of reasons. Some adults want to correct functional problems with their teeth or jaws before they cause serious or further damage. Others want to feel better about their appearance by addressing long-standing cosmetic concerns. Bear in mind that even “cosmetic” problems can cause real damage over time. Maligned teeth and jaws can contribute to premature wear, advanced tooth decay and gum disease.
New techniques and the advent of clear, less noticeable braces means that adults are increasingly turning to braces to correct:
How do I know if adult braces are right for me?
If you think you might benefit from braces, ask your dentist to recommend an orthodontist: a specialist trained to fix problems with teeth that are not aligned properly. The orthodontist will look at your teeth and perhaps take X-rays to study the underlying bone structure. Based on what he or she finds, a treatment plan will be recommended. While braces are a popular option for fixing malaligned teeth, an orthodontist can tell you whether you may benefit more from other types of orthodontics, such as removable retainers, headgear or aligners.