Orthodontics is the dental specialty that focuses on the development, prevention, and correction of irregularities of the teeth, bite, and jaws. Orthodontists also have specialized training in facial abnormalities and disorders of the jaw. A patient may consult an orthodontist after receiving a referral from his or her general dentist--recommending orthodontic treatment to improve the patient's physical "orofacial" appearance. However, the American Dental Association recommends that every child receive an orthodontic evaluation by the age of seven.
Any orthodontic problem may be classified as a malocclusion, or "bad bite." The following problems may be helped or minimized with proper orthodontic treatment:
Moving and correcting the alignment of the teeth follows the same biological and physical process no matter what the age. However, an adult mouth must overcome already positioned facial bones and jaw structure. Thus, overcoming most types of malocclusions may require more than one type of orthodontic treatment for adults. In most cases, the ideal age for braces and other orthodontic treatments is between 10 and 14 years of age, although people of any age can benefit from treatment.
Braces, also called fixed orthodontic appliances, generally come in three varieties:
All three types use wires to move the teeth to the desired position.
The following recommendations will help to eliminate, or reduce, any oral health problems while your teeth are in braces:
Ask your dentist about the application of a flouride varnish around the braces to minimize white spots on the teeth after the braces come off.
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