Orthodontic procedures are used to move teeth into their proper position. Improperly positioned teeth are more than just unattractive. Teeth that are crooked or unevenly spaced can contribute to tooth decay, periodontitis, and musculoskeletal issues in the jaw, neck, shoulder, and back.
What Does an Orthodontist Treat?
These conditions are most effectively treated by an orthodontic specialist.
- Overbite – the upper teeth stick out further than the lower teeth
- Underbite – the lower teeth stick out further than the upper teeth
- Crossbite – when biting down, the upper teeth do not meet the lower teeth properly
- Open bite – when the back teeth are clenched, the front or side teeth do not meet
- Misplaced midline – the centers of the top and bottom teeth do not match
- Spacing – gaps or spaces left by missing or misshapen teeth
- Crowding – more teeth than the mouth can comfortably accommodate
How Are These Conditions Treated?
- Braces are the most common treatment for orthodontic issues. These appliances are installed in the mouth by a professional. Periodic tightening gently shifts teeth back into proper position over time.
- Space maintainers (spacers), can be used for younger children who need to have baby teeth surgically removed. The spacer ensures that the new tooth will have room to grow.
- Aligners are similar to braces. These devices are made from clear materials that make them nearly invisible. Instead of visiting a dentist for tightening, new aligners are fitted periodically to ensure teeth are guided into proper position.
- Splints are used to reposition the jaw in patients with TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders.
- Expanders are inserted against the roof of the mouth to widen and open the bones around the palate.
If you need orthodontic services, your primary dental professional will refer you for treatment.