If you have crooked teeth, a overbite, or gaps in between your teeth, you may qualify for orthodontic treatment that can correct your bite and give you a straight smile. Many people mistakenly think that braces are only available for children, but in fact orthodontics can be used to benefit just about any age group. To determine whether or not orthodontic treatment may be the right option for you, it's helpful to first take a look at the types of problems that this treatment can solve, as well as what the various benefits of orthodontic treatment are. The first step towards any treatment is to sit down with your dentist for X-rays and a consultation, however.
There are numerous problems that orthodontics is meant to treat. Some of these can include gaps between the teeth, impacted teeth, a overbite or underbite, or crooked teeth. If your smile doesn't line up correctly and you have a crooked bite, then gently moving the teeth through orthodontic treatment may get your teeth back in the right order, giving you a smooth, straight smile and a well-aligned bite. This full process can take anywhere from 18 months to three years for completion, although this number may vary on the individual.
Some of the methods used to do this include the use of traditional braces as well as other forms of movement brackets. The full-on headgear and rubber bands of the past are still used in extreme cases, but with the latest orthodontics methods on the market you can move your teeth without anyone noticing in many cases. Some of the benefits of straightening your smile can include improving your self-confidence, and producing a better facial profile by realigning the jaws for cosmetic purposes.
Other benefits associated with orthodontics include the possibility of improving the bite, reducing the risk of potential injury or tooth loss in the case of protruding teeth, and making teeth easier to clean. When they are crowded together, flossing and brushing can prove to be difficult, while straight teeth with even spaces can be monitored more closely for hygienic purposes. Having straight teeth can make it easier to speak and eliminate any stress or pressure on the jaw joints, while reducing stress on the surface of teeth. These are but a few of the benefits that are associated with proper orthodontic treatment.
Generally, although orthodontics can be performed at any age, the younger the patient is, the better, after the initial permanent teeth have come in. The ideal age for many orthodontists is to start with patients around the age of 12 or 13. This is because younger patients have bones and teeth that are easier to move, and tend to have less dental work such as implants or bridges to work around. However, with orthodontic technology having grown in leaps and bounds in recent years, it's possible to treat patients of any age and condition, for a smooth, straight, and hygienic smile. For best results, the teeth and gums should be healthy before treatment commences.