O - Orthodontics (A to Z Challenge April 2014)
Orthodontics is a type of dentistry that aims to improve the appearance, position and function of crooked or abnormally arranged teeth. Dentists who specialise in orthodontics are known as orthodontists.
Orthodontics uses devices such as a brace to correct the position of the teeth. Your exact treatment will depend on the problems with your teeth.
Crooked teeth and teeth that do not fit together correctly are harder to keep clean, are at risk of being lost early due to tooth decay and periodontal disease, and cause extra stress on the chewing muscles that can lead to headaches, TMJ syndrome and neck, shoulder and back pain. In some cases, abnormal development of the teeth and jaw can affect the shape of the face, which could cause psychological and emotional problems, such as lack of self-confidence.
The benefits of orthodontic treatment include a healthier mouth, a more pleasing appearance, and teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime.
Many different types of appliances, both fixed and removable, are used to help move teeth, retrain muscles and affect the growth of the jaws. These appliances work by placing gentle pressure on the teeth and jaws. Braces and aligners are the appliances orthodontists most commonly use to guide your teeth into their proper positions. Retainers preserve and stabilize the results of your orthodontic treatment.
In the past, orthodontic treatment was associated with children and teens, but today many adults seek orthodontic treatment to correct long-standing problems, or problems that stem from maturational changes. Orthodontists can help people of any age achieve a healthy and beautiful smile.