Malocclusions, or irregularities in the way teeth are positioned in the mouth, are fairly common, and many cases do not require dental intervention. But for those that do, orthodontists have a strong repertoire of appliances to draw from. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the most common, and their benefits.
Braces are easily the most well-known and recognizable orthodontic appliance. They’re usually made from stainless steel, titanium, and rubber, and they apply gentle pressure to teeth over time. This pressure gradually nudges the upper and lower sets of teeth into greater alignment. Over the course of anywhere between one to three years, patients will have straighter, better-aligned teeth that are more aesthetically pleasing and less likely to create complications later in life.
Orthodontists rely on retainers to keep teeth straight and in place after braces have been removed. They’re a kind of post-treatment that helps cement the gains made by braces and ensure that teeth don’t shift back into misalignment.
Headgear is generally reserved for the most serious cases of malocclusions. If someone has either an underbite or an overbite that an orthodontist feels will not be adequately addressed by braces, he or she may consider headgear.
Headgear can manipulate jaws in a more holistic way than braces by pulling a person’s upper or lower sets of teeth back with elastic bands and coils to achieve greater alignment. Adolescents with severe malocclusions like overjet, underbite, and crossbite may be candidates for headgear.
As an alternative to traditional braces, aligners are a safe, effective, and discreet option for straightening misaligned teeth. Removable aligners are worn over the teeth and can be removed to allow you to eat, brush, and floss normally during your orthodontic treatment. Made of clear plastic, this appliance is nearly invisible and can be more comfortable than traditional braces.
This is by no means a conclusive list, and to determine the correct solution for your own orthodontic needs it is always important to converse with your doctor. To do so, schedule an appointment with our office today and achieve a healthier smile.