Orthodontics (Minor Tooth Movement)
Orthodontic treatment is used to correct a “bad bite.” This condition, known as a malocclusion, involves teeth that are crowded or crooked. In some cases, the upper and lower jaws may not meet properly and although the teeth may appear straight, the individual may have an uneven bite.
Protruding, crowded or irregularly spaced teeth and jaw problems may be inherited. Thumb-sucking, losing teeth prematurely and accidents also can lead to these conditions.
Correcting the problem can create a nice-looking smile, but more important, orthodontic treatment results in a healthier mouth. That’s because crooked and crowded teeth make cleaning the mouth difficult, which can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and possibly tooth loss. An improper bite can interfere with chewing and speaking, can cause abnormal wear to tooth enamel, and can lead to problems with the jaws.
Orthodontic treatment often begins between ages 8 and 14. Treatment that begins while a child is growing helps produce optimal results. As a result, children should have an orthodontic evaluation no later than age 7. By then, they have a mix of primary (baby) teeth and their permanent (adult) teeth and problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth can be detected early on.
Children aren’t the only ones who can benefit from orthodontics. If you’re an adult, it’s not too late to correct problems such as crooked or crowded teeth.
There are two types of orthodontic appliances: fixed, which are worn all the time and can only be removed by the dentist, and removable, which the patient can take out of the mouth.
Removable appliances can be used to correct a variety of minor teeth crowding or spacing issues. Children and adults can both benefit from removable appliance treatment. However, if your situation requires extensive movement or alignment issues, we will refer you to an Orthodontist for consultation.