Orthodontics are typically used to help improve the overall appearance of a person’s smile by helping to correct misaligned, crooked or poorly spaced teeth. In the not too distant past, the options available were limited to various types of braces, but as technology has improved there are a number of effective and innovative treatments available.
Fixed braces remain a popular choice, largely thanks to their effectiveness and relatively low cost. Modern dental braces are far less conspicuous that the older styles, and are relatively unobtrusive when it comes to eating and cleaning your teeth. They involve small, non-removable brackets which are glues to the teeth and connected together with wires.
Fixed braces are usually used when a significant alteration to the alignment of a tooth is required. Some cosmetic dentists will offer ceramic or clear plastic braces to patients, but these will generally be more expensive than traditional metal braces.
Removable braces are also available, typically in the form of a custom made retainer that sits in the roof of your mouth. It can be removed easily to allow you to clean your teeth, however they should only be removed during cleaning or during activities like playing sports. Removable braces are only really used for making very minor alterations to tooth alignment, and generally won’t suffice when large changes are needed.
One of the more innovative treatments on the market is Invisalign, which is usually offered by cosmetic dentists. It involves being fitted for a set of custom made retainers, which are 3D printed specifically for the patient. Each retainer is used for around 2 weeks before being replaced with another, until the desired result is achieved. The real selling point is that the retainers are practically invisible, meaning no one would ever know you were wearing them.
Functional appliances are used with patients occasionally to help fix minor problems. These involve a set of retainers which sit over the top and bottom teeth, and which can be removed to allow you to clean your teeth properly. They are usually joined together or are designed to interact with each other in some way, and while they are less popular choices than the others they do serve a purpose.
Most people with functional appliances will need to wear them all the time, except when cleaning their teeth or eating. The orthodontist will typically give some advice on when to wear it and how often – failing to follow this advice will usually mean the treatment is unsuccessful.
Some patients will require headgear, which isn’t a treatment in itself but it often works in conjunction with other orthodontic equipment. Headgear is generally work overnight, and it works to help keep the back teeth in position while the front teeth are being treated.
If you have crooked or misaligned teeth, orthodontic treatment may be the answer you’re looking for. It has been used to successfully treat millions of patients around the world for decades, and the recent advancements in treatment make it more effective than ever.