Orthodontic dentistry is one of the most common and popular treatment modalities for correcting misaligned teeth, improving the appearance of teeth, correcting ‘bite’ issues etc.
Orthodontic procedures not only improve appearance, but they also help keep the teeth clean and healthy, thus preventing teeth decay and gum diseases. Orthodontic treatment also provides help in cleft lip and palate complications.
Orthodontic treatment helps correct the structural issues of the teeth and their position, and in the process gives a boost to the oral health and hygiene of a person. This treatment benefits both children and adults alike.
In children, this treatment is usually recommended by dentists when their milk teeth fall off and permanent teeth make an appearance. The dental development of the child is progressing and this is the right time for the dentists to make necessary corrections as required. Early intervention ensures the process is smooth right from the beginning.
Signs you need orthodontic treatment
Whether you need orthodontic treatment or not can be decided after a dental consultation. Your dentist will conduct a thorough examination, use X-rays, take pictures of your teeth, and make models of the teeth during the course of the treatment. This will help the dentist get a clear picture of the issue and also underlying other dental or oral concerns a person might have.
After a thorough dental consultation, a treatment plan is devised. During this time, you may discuss any concerns that you have. Together, your dentist and you can decide on a treatment plan that meets your requirements and budget.
1) Bite problems
Bite problems are common in both children and adults. It is only a small percentage of people who have the correct bite, the rest all need to have minor or major bite correction procedures. There are different types of bite problems – cross bite, open bite, over bite, under bite and over jet are the major ones seen.
Cross bite is the condition when the teeth on the upper jaw bite into the lower jaw. It can be seen as the upper jaw overlapping the lower jaw. When this issue occurs the most obvious issue is that of appearance, then follows defective chewing and also tooth decay.
In the case of open bite, the jaws do not overlap correctly and there is a space between them. There are various reasons like digit sucking, jaws not growing properly. Issues with eating food as well speech problems are seen in people who have this issue.
Overbite is seen when the upper jaw/teeth cover over the lower jaw/teeth and the lower palate bites into the roof of the mouth. Joint problems, chewing issues etc. may all result due to the overbite.
Underbite is when the lower teeth cover or grow over the upper jaw. Abnormal growth of the jaws causes this and results in facial abnormalities, difficulty with speech and chewing and also to some extent cause gum problems. Abnormal alignment of the jaws result in more severe dental problems and also gum diseases. Of course these issues affect the overall appearance of the person as well.
Crowding of teeth is seen among may people. This problem is commonly caused due to insufficient space in the mouth for all the teeth. Usually, some big teeth take up more space or there would be inadequate jaw space available for all teeth. Or it can also be a combination of both.
For some, genetics is also a reason – where they are born with small jaws. Some children lose their teeth quite early and the neighbouring teeth move into the available space and when the permanent teeth make their appearance it gets a misaligned position as has to adjust with the available space. Teeth get pushed against one another and also overlap as they do not have adequate space. When this overcrowding is seen, there is also this issue of teeth decay.
Overcrowding or dental crowding is seen in different forms in people and it varies in severity from mild, moderate, to severe overcrowding. Mild crowding is a very slight form in which one tooth in either of the jaws are misaligned in position, where as in the moderate form there will be two or more teeth that are misaligned. In the case of severe overcrowding of teeth overlap of teeth in the anterior part of the lower and upper jaws are seen.
Misaligned teeth come under malocclusion dental problem and there are specialised techniques under orthodontic treatment that corrects the problem.
As with all the dental concerns the severity of this issue ranges from mild to severe and accordingly there are techniques that correct each. The time for each issue to be corrected varies according to the problem and can take anywhere between a few weeks to months or a year.
After each stage, depending on the type of treatment that is followed, the dental appliances are corrected to ensure they offer correct alignment support to the teeth.
There are different types of procedures and the most commonly used is the braces, followed by dental veneers, crowns and dental bonding procedures. It is important for the durability of these prosthetics that care is taken when they are worn. Consuming chewing and hard food should be avoided as they tend to stick to these dental devices.
The patient must also maintain proper hygiene and clean the appliances well. If good hygiene is not maintained, then there are chances of dental decay and gum diseases occurring and affecting oral and dental health.
When there are dental problems, it is important that they are checked by a dentist. If the issues occur between regular consultations, a separate appointment should be made to check the problem at hand. Seeking expert dental consultation at the earliest will help to set right many dental problems with simple procedures.
Whenever you suspect any dental issue, first get an appointment with your dentist. Future complications can be easily avoided if you consult a dentist at the right time.