You may have seen celebrities or everyday people with gold-pated teeth and stylish braces. While some of these may be aesthetic, a majority of them are worn for medical reasons. So, how do you know that you need orthodontics?
Only an orthodontist or a dentist such as Dr. Normand Bach can determine whether you should get orthodontics. Dentists and orthodontists use a range of tools including your full medical history, your dental health history, special X-rays of your teeth, and models of your teeth made from plaster to make this determination. Getting orthodontics is part of a larger treatment plan.
Dr. Bach can recommend orthodontics if you have the following:
- Buck teeth or overbite, where the front upper teeth stick out over the lower teeth,
- Open bite, where there is a space left by the biting surfaces of the middle and/or front teeth when the back teeth are together in a bite,
- A bulldog appearance or Underbite, where the lower front tooth are too far forward in comparison to the upper teeth,
- Misplaced midline, where the centres of the upper front teeth and upper lower teeth do not line up,
- Crossbite, where the upper front teeth do not come slightly down beyond the lower teeth in a normal bite, crowding, where the dental ridge cannot accommodate the number of teeth, and
- Spacing, where there are gaps between teeth as a result of teeth that fail to fill up the mouth or missing teeth.
These conditions are corrected using either fixed or removable appliances. Fixed appliances are:
- Fixed appliances for maintaining space used, especially in babies, to maintain space in case milk teeth come off too early,
- Other fixed appliances that are special and used to control activities, especially in children, such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking. These are used as a last resort since they are uncomfortable when eating, and
- Braces. These are very common and are mainly brackets, wires, and bands. Brackets are bonded to the front of the teeth while bands anchor the braces. Wires pass through the brackets and attach to the bands. There are many styles and colors of braces for children and adults.
Appliances that can be removed include:
- Space maintainers that are removable and are similar to the fixed space maintainers but are built from acrylic and are removable,
- Appliances for repositioning jaws also referred to as splints that are used to train either the upper or lower jaw to maintain a favorable position,
- Palatal expanders, which are plastic plates that are fitted in the roof of the mouth and widen the upper jaw arch, and
- Aligners, utilized in place of braces in adults but without metal brackets and wires. They are removed during flossing, meals, and brushing and are not visible on the outside.
As you can see, orthodontics appliances are recommended for individuals with different dental conditions that require correction. They are not worn as aesthetic devices and you need the recommendation of a qualified orthodontist or a dentist. If you have a dental condition, contact your family dentist prior to settling on any particular appliance.