What Is Orthodontics? It’s More Than Braces
For many people, braces don’t just signify the start of adolescence; they symbolize the first step toward adulthood. However, braces are just one tool that’s used in modern orthodontics. What most people don’t realize is that it’s not just the metal brackets or slightly crooked teeth that make you eligible for an orthodontist—it’s also the specific methods and services they offer.
What Is Orthodontics?
The word “orthodontics” comes from the Greek “ortho” (straight) and “dontikos” (treat). Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on the prevention and treatment of dental crowding and other issues that can result from improper space between teeth.
Orthodontics is a broad term that describes a number of specialized practices in dental care. There are essentially two main types of orthodontics: fixed and removable.
The History of Orthodontics
An inflexible metal appliance is a familiar tool in nearly every orthodontic office.
These appliances, also called braces, come in many styles and materials. Braces are meant to hold teeth in place through the use of a wire, band, or plastic retainer attached to the front of the tooth above and below the crooked teeth.
In the 1800s, orthodontics began as a branch of dental surgery. As with other forms of dental surgery, orthodontists performed their procedures on the very young and very old. Orthodontists worked with a long list of conditions, such as crooked teeth, missing teeth, and overcrowded teeth. Orthodontics later evolved into its own distinct field, and today it’s a highly specialized form of dental care that addresses issues in two primary areas.
How Does Orthodontic Care Work?
During orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist may use a variety of methods to straighten teeth. Orthodontic professionals must consider a patient’s age, size, and other factors when recommending a treatment plan.
Some of the most common methods of orthodontic care include:
– Braces: Brackets and bands that fit around teeth and are connected to an appliance. The goal of braces is to prevent the teeth from shifting into their proper place due to crowding. Over time, the muscles relax, and the teeth finally move into their correct position.
– Invisalign: These clear plastic aligners are custom-made for your teeth. They’re meant to be worn for 20 hours or more each day but can be taken out easily when it’s time to eat and brush your teeth. With Invisalign, you don’t visit the orthodontist for adjustments, but to make sure everyting is moving properly and to pick up your new set of trays.
Why You Should Consider Orthodontic Care?
With the right treatment, most people can achieve beautiful, straighter teeth.
In fact, people who have straight teeth are six times more likely to get a date than those with crooked teeth, according to one study. However, orthodontic care isn’t just for those who want to attract a partner or get a new job. It can improve your appearance, your self-esteem, and your oral health in a number of ways.
Improved Appearance: Straight teeth look brand new. They also let you show off your smile more broadly, which can be exciting for young, old, and everyone in between.
Improved Self-Esteem: People with straight teeth are more likely to feel confident. It’s not hard to imagine how a lifetime of crooked teeth might have affected your self-confidence—and how those feelings might have affected your life.
Improved Health: Wearing braces or Invisalign can have a positive effect on your oral health. Braces can cause gums to bulge out, which can help prevent gum disease.
Wearing braces for years can also improve the health of your teeth by strengthening them and making them less prone to cavities.
Whether you have mild crowding or severe issues, the right orthodontist can help you correct your smile. Remember to practice good dental hygiene to prevent issues before they arise, and choose an orthodontist who’s experienced in treating your specific issues. With the right treatment, almost any adult can achieve beautiful, straight teeth.