Orthodontics is a dental specialty. Orthodontists undergo three additional years of training after they graduate from dental school. This extra training enables orthodontists to prevent, diagnose, and treat facial and dental irregularities. Orthodontists are experts in correcting misalignments of the teeth and jaw that would otherwise lead to problems like difficulty chewing and speech defects. Read on to learn more about the treatments orthodontists commonly provide.
Traditional braces are the most common treatment orthodontists use to correct tooth alignment and enhance patients’ cosmetic appearance. While braces were formerly comprised of heavy and uncomfortable metal, today’s dental braces are far smaller and lighter—and are more comfortable than ever before. Braces are bonded to the front of the teeth and are gradually tightened. As tension increases, the teeth are gradually nudged into their proper positions. Braces are generally worn for one to three years, but only an orthodontist can determine each patient’s exact dental treatment plan.
Invisalign is an increasingly popular option for dental patients. The custom-made clear plastic aligners shift the teeth into their proper position and require no metal or wires at all. An orthodontist switches out a patient’s trays about twice per month until the teeth are in their correct position. The aligner trays can be easily removed for eating, brushing, and flossing, which can make the cleaning process simpler. Many orthodontists prefer Invisalign because it offers patients the same benefits as braces but is less noticeable.
Your orthodontist may also recommend lingual braces. These invisible braces are a great option for people who are concerned about their appearance but prefer traditional braces. Lingual braces are placed on the interior side of the teeth, near the tongue. They work just like traditional braces to move teeth into place with continuous gentle pressure.
Facemasks, also called headgear, allow orthodontists to correct developmental problems like overbite or underbite. Facemasks attach to dental braces. By fitting around the head, this type of orthodontic device further encourages the proper alignment of the teeth and jaw.