Orthodontics is the dental process used to correct
overbites, under bites, open bites, closed bites and cross bites as
well as bite misalignment. Restoring a proper bite is not just for
esthetics. An improper bite can result in jaw alignment problems,
tooth lose, gum recession, decay and lost of tooth vitality. The
following graphics show a proper bite,
and example of improper bites.
Orthodontic treatment most commonly involves using
bands, brackets and elastics (braces) to move teeth back into proper
position. The bracket can be metal (silver colored) or ceramic (tooth
colored) and the elastic are available in a variety of colors including
clear. The choice depends on the patients personal preference and
not treatment needs.
Orthodontic treatment is usually performed on adolescents,
but it can be done on adults. Adult orthodontics is usually not
covered by insurance. The length of treatment is usually 18 to 24
months, but could take longer, depending on patient diligence an
cooperation with treatment. Once treatment is completed care and
maintenance will require the use of a retainer on a daily bases
until instructed otherwise by your dentist.
A new propriety orthodontic procedure called Invisalign
is now available. This involves using a series of clear trays to
realign the teeth. These trays are custom fabricated in a lab, making
Invisalign the more expensive treatment alternative. Depending on
your dental needs Invisalign might need to be supplemented using
more tradition orthodontic procedures.