What Can Orthodontics Treat?

Orthodontics can treat a wide range of dental problems to do with alignment and spacing. Braces can close up gaps between teeth, create space for overcrowded teeth and help give you the correct bite. They can push back any number of teeth on one or both jaws, and draw other teeth forwards, all to create a set of straight, fully functioning teeth. If your teeth are crooked, or you have an overbite, underbite, crossbite, overjet or openbite, orthodontics can help you.

How Does It Work?

Conventional fixed braces are made up of metal or ceramic brackets which are attached to the teeth with dental glue, a metal wire running through the brackets and small elastic bands over the brackets to keep the wire in place. The wire puts pressure on the teeth which makes them move. Sometimes springs or rubber bands are used to exert more pressure in a specific area. Braces exert constant pressure which moves the teeth gradually over time, loosening them and letting the bone grow in to support the tooth in its new position.

Causes of Teeth Irregularities

One of the main causes of teeth irregularities is genetics. Dental flaws are usually passed on from the parents, but they can also be caused by things like trauma and thumb sucking. One of the primary reasons children grow up with crooked teeth is as a result of losing or fracturing teeth through rough play and minor accidents. These teeth are replaced by adult teeth which may have fused to the bone and grow crooked. If children suck their thumbs or use dummies for a prolonged period, it can result in protruding top teeth. Another cause of teeth irregularities can be losing your baby teeth too early, leaving the adult teeth with no guide as to where to grow.

What Improvements Can You Expect?

As well as the obvious visual improvement, braces can help your teeth function properly. Many people stop noticing the discomfort caused by crooked teeth, but orthodontic treatment can get rid of it altogether. It can improve your speech, and help you to chew more thoroughly. Very importantly it can help you keep your teeth properly clean to avoid infections and decay. When you have overlaps, teeth at odd angles or big spaces your teeth are more vulnerable to infection because they are less accessible to you and more likely to trap food which attracts plaque bacteria. Orthodontic treatment can prevent these problems.

At What Age Can You Have Orthodontic Treatment?

You are never too old to have orthodontic treatment. However, while the smile and bite can be improved at any age from seven upwards, it is more effective in young people. It is best to have an orthodontic screening at seven so that the orthodontist can advise you on further treatment. This treatment may begin between the ages of seven and nine, such as corrective treatment for large overbites. However, adolescence is the best time to have most treatments as the orthodontist can time the treatment with growth to achieve the best and quickest result.