Straight Facts About Straightening Teeth — The Science Behind Orthodontics
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a sub-specialty of dentistry devoted to the study of growth and development of the teeth and jaws and treatment of improper bites (malocclusions).
What causes improper bites?
Malocclusions result from irregularities in the positioning of teeth, disproportionate jaw relationships, or both.
Why have orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment is carried out primarily to improve the alignment and function of your teeth and bite. It also results in improved oral health, easier maintenance, a better smile, and enhanced self-confidence and esteem.
What is the first step?
What do we need in order to plan your orthodontic treatment?
- Molds (impressions) of your teeth to study your bite (study models).
- “Articulated models” placing your study models in a machine that replicates jaw movement.
- Specialized x-rays showing your teeth and how your jaws align.
- Photographs of your smile and position of your teeth.
- Computer imaging.
What are braces?
Orthodontic appliances, commonly known as braces, are small brackets that are placed on teeth, through which thin flexible wires are threaded. They are the parts that move the teeth.
How do they work?
The wires tend to straighten out to their undistorted forms moving the teeth with them. Since the tissues that attach the bone to the teeth are living, they are constantly changing and remodeling themselves. Harnessing these natural forces allows the movement of teeth. Light controlled forces acting through the wires cause new bone to be formed as the teeth move into new improved positions.
What are current options for orthodontic appliances?
- Fixed appliances, traditionally known as braces, include brackets bonded to the teeth. These may be either metal or clear brackets, which are less visible but more susceptible to breakage.
- Removable appliances, or clear aligners. These consist of a series of computer-generated clear plastic custom fitted trays that progressively move the teeth into better alignment.
Orthodontic treatment is an ingenious scientific discovery that has allowed the dental profession to precisely move teeth for better appearance as well as improved function. It harnesses the body's natural processes by which tissues normally remodel themselves to maintain a steady state, allowing your dental team to move your teeth into improved position for a lifetime of dental health and a great smile.