Teeth that are crooked, crowded or that protrude affect the way you look. The way your teeth fit together can affect your bite and be more difficult to clean. If you are not happy with the way your teeth look or work, orthodontic treatment may help.
What is Orthodontic Treatment?
Orthodontic treatment straightens your teeth so they look and work better. It may even make your face look better, and help your jaw muscles function properly. Orthodontic treatment uses braces or other appliances to put gentle pressure on your teeth and eventually move them into the right position.
Your dentist may do basic orthodontic treatment or refer you to an orthodontist - a dental specialist with two to three years of extra university training in this area.
Why you may need orthodontics?
A number of factors may affect the size and position of your teeth and jaws. Problems like crooked teeth may "run in your family." You may have a habit that affected your teeth, such as thumb-sucking. You may have lost a tooth (or teeth), and the teeth that are left may have moved or shifted.
No matter what the cause, your dentist or orthodontist can treat:
an overbite, an underbite and an overjet;
too much space between teeth;
the results of extra or missing teeth.
It's important to treat these problems because teeth that are crowded, crooked or protruding can make you unhappy with your appearance. You may be shy and unwilling to smile because of your teeth.
Teeth that are misaligned affect your bite. This misalignment can make it hard to chew some foods and may cause some teeth to wear down. It can also cause muscle tension and pain.
Crowded and crooked teeth are harder to clean. Cavities and gum disease may develop as a result. Teeth that stick out are more easily chipped or broken.
Some orthodontic problems should start to be treated before all the adult (or permanent) teeth come in. Your dentist or orthodontist can do a screening to find out if your child will have any orthodontic problems.
An orthodontic screening by the age of seven can help your dentist or orthodontist treat (or intercept) a problem as it is developing. This type of screening is called interceptive orthodontics.