Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that corrects teeth and jaws that are improperly positioned to create a healthier mouth and more pleasing appearance. What a difference straight teeth can make!
Orthodontic treatment can boost your self-confidence and positively impact social and professional opportunities — and you're never too old to take advantage of it. Properly aligned teeth help you to bite, chew and even speak more effectively. Straight teeth are also easier to clean, which helps prevent decay and gum disease.
Harnessing the body's natural ability to remodel its own tissue, orthodontics and applies light, constant force to gently reshape bone and move teeth into better positions. Fixed orthodontic appliances range from traditional metal braces to more inconspicuous clear or tooth-colored braces.
Orthodontics are for Children — and Adults
Orthodontic treatment during childhood is ideal because it can take advantage of the natural growth processes to properly align teeth. At this time it's possible to create more room for teeth, which can shorten overall treatment time and ensure the best results.
However, healthy teeth can be moved at any age. In fact, about one in five of today's orthodontic patients is an adult. Several technological developments — including tooth-colored ceramic braces and "invisible" lingual braces — have made orthodontic appliances less evident, enhancing the treatment experience for adults.
Types of Orthodontic Appliances
When you think about braces, you probably picture small metal brackets bonded to the front of the teeth, with a wire running through them. This time-tested style remains very popular, but it's no longer the only option. Clear braces use brackets made of ceramic or plastic which, except for a slim wire, are hardly visible. Lingual braces are just like traditional metal braces — except they're bonded to the back of your teeth (the tongue side) so that no one can see them.
Retention and Post-Orthodontic Care
Once your orthodontic treatment is completed, it's extremely important to wear a retainer as directed. That's because teeth naturally tend to drift back to their original locations. Wearing a retainer holds your teeth in their new position long enough for new bone and ligament to re-form around them, and helps keep your gorgeous new smile looking good for a lifetime.
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