What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is one of many dental specialties. The word orthodontics is derived from the Greek words orthos, meaning proper or straight and odons meaning teeth. Orthodontics is specifically concerned with diagnosing and treating tooth misalignment and irregularity in the jaw area. Initially, orthodontic treatments were geared toward the treatment of teens and pre-teens, but these days around 30 percent of orthodontic patients are adults.
There are many advantages to well-aligned teeth, including easier cleaning, better oral hygiene, clearer speech and a more pleasant smile. Though orthodontic treatment can be effective at any age, the American Dental Association suggests that an orthodontic assessment should be performed around the age of seven. The earlier orthodontic treatment begins, the more quickly the problem can be successfully resolved.
Orthodontics is a technologically advanced field which offers many sophisticated solutions to malocclusions and other cosmetic problems. Dr. Jon will generally perform a visual examination, panoramic X-rays, and study models (bite impressions) in order to assess the exact nature of the discrepancy.
When a diagnosis has been made, there are a variety of orthodontic treatment options available.
Fixed orthodontic braces
A metal or ceramic dental base is affixed to each tooth, and a dental wire is inserted through each base. Dr. Jon is able to gradually train the teeth into proper alignment by regularly adjusting the wire. When the desired results are achieved, the fixed dental braces are completely removed.
There are a wide range of removable appliances commonly used in orthodontics, including headgear that correct overbites and facemasks which are used to correct an underbite.
This is a newer, removable type of dental aligner that is completely transparent. Invisalign® does not interfere with eating because of its removable nature, and mechanically works in the same way as the traditional metal dental braces. Not all patients are candidates for Invisalign®.