Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that corrects teeth and jaws that are positioned improperly. 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.
Only a dentist or orthodontist can determine whether a patient can benefit from orthodontics. Based on diagnostic tools that include a full medical and dental health history, a clinical exam, plaster models of your teeth, and special X-rays and photographs, an orthodontist or dentist can decide whether orthodontics are recommended, and develop a treatment plan that's right for your child.
Around age 7, children have a mix of baby (primary) and permanent teeth. A check-up as permanent teeth take the place of baby teeth, and as the face and jaws are growing, gives the orthodontist a wealth of information.
If a problem exists, or if one is developing, your orthodontist is able to advise you on whether treatment is recommended, when it should begin, what form treatment will take, and estimate its length. Remember, there is a difference between an orthodontic check-up and actually starting orthodontic treatment.
Teeth that are crooked or not in the right place can also detract from one's appearance. The benefits of orthodontic treatment include a healthier mouth, a more pleasing appearance, and teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime.
Orthodontic treatment helps ensure proper function of teeth and create healthy smiles. A good bite makes it easier for you to bite, chew and speak. Teeth that are misaligned are harder to clean and can cause abnormal wearing of tooth enamel which can lead to extensive and expensive dental procedures.
If you have any of the following, you may be a candidate for orthodontic treatment:
The purpose of orthodontic treatment is to create a healthy, functional “bite,” which is part tooth alignment and part jaw position. When jaws and teeth line up correctly, they are able to function as nature intended. This promotes oral health and general physical health. Here are some of the possible treatment tools we use: