What Procedures Are Considered Orthodontic?
Orthodontic procedures are dental treatments that help straighten misaligned teeth, correct bad bites, and give you a beautiful smile. Straightening your teeth prevents tooth wear, improves the health of your mouth, and prevents further damage due to bad bites.
Orthodontic procedures are performed by a dental specialist known as an orthodontist. There are several types of orthodontic procedures to restore the function and appearance of your teeth. Your dentist will make a full assessment to diagnose your problem and develop a suitable treatment plan.
It involves conducting a complete examination, taking x-rays of the jaws and teeth, making models of your teeth, and checking out your medical and dental health history. The treatment can start when the permanent teeth are fully developed at around age 12-13 or later when the problems emerge.
Maintaining good oral hygiene before, during, and after this treatment is essential to prevent tooth decay.
Functions of Orthodontic Treatment
Different types of orthodontic treatments correct dental issues such as:
i. Gaps or spaces between teeth
ii. Crooked teeth
iii. Improper bites
iv. Misaligned jaw
v. Protruding front teeth
vii. Impacted teeth
viii. Problems with chewing, speaking, or breathing related to dental health
Orthodontic Procedures and Devices
The orthodontist may use any of the orthodontic procedures and fixed or removable devices below during treatment.
Braces are appliances attached to your teeth to help correct misalignment issues. There are several braces, such as traditional metal braces, coloured or clear braces, removable or fixed braces, and those worn on the inside surface of your teeth. In addition, delicate elastic bands may be attached to your fixed braces to help move the teeth. Some of the commonly used braces include:
- Traditional braces. These are made of a series of brackets and wires attached directly to the teeth to help pull them into the desired positions. Brackets for braces come in different colours, including tooth-coloured brackets, which improve aesthetics.
- Invisalign®. These removable braces are made of clear thermoplastic material, customized to fit over individual teeth and gently pull them to their correct positions. The tray aligners are worn for 22-23 hours daily for several months until the desired results are achieved. Each tray is changed after two weeks for the next one in the series and is easily removed while eating or cleaning the mouth.
- Lingual braces. Lingual braces will not affect your speech as the brackets do not interfere with the lips’ movement. These types of braces are fixed to the back of the teeth and are not easily visible.
- Retainers. Patients wear retainers after completing a teeth realignment treatment. They help to maintain the new shape of your teeth by preventing the teeth from shifting back to their misaligned positions. Customized retainers are worn over teeth after braces treatment is complete.
2. Orthodontic Headgear
An orthodontic headgear consists of a strap around the back of the head attached to a metal wire in the front. This device is worn on the patient’s head and utilizes force to adjust and correct their bite. Young patients wear headgears to help with jaw development and growth of the bone. It is worn in the evening or at night or as your dentist recommends. Not following the wearing instructions may result in front teeth that stick out at the completion of your treatment.
3. Palatal Expansion
The device used in this procedure is made of a plastic plate with screws placed on the roof of the mouth. These tiny screws put pressure on the bone joints and force them outward, thereby increasing the size of the upper jaw. This procedure is recommended for patients who have a smaller than normal upper jaw. In addition, the arch of the upper jaw is widened to align it with the lower jaw and teeth correctly.
4. Jaw Surgery
Your orthodontist will work with a maxillofacial surgeon to perform this procedure. It is suitable for issues such as:
- Correcting underbites and overbites
- Reducing breaking down and wearing down of teeth
- Relieving pain due to jaw issues
- Creating oral symmetry
- Improving your ability to chew and swallow
These jaw repositioning devices are positioned either on the upper or lower jaw to treat issues such as temporomandibular joint disorder. They move the jaw and relieve the pain and dysfunction in the jaw muscles as you chew or speak.
Make an appointment with us at KC Dental for orthodontic procedures that treat all types of malocclusion.