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Orthodontics refers to a specialized discipline of dentistry which focuses on the alignment of the jaws and teeth so as to improve a ones oral health and smile as well. Orthodontists usually diagnose, treat and also prevent teeth irregularities using braces. The devices can be used in straightening teeth, correcting an irregular bite, closing unsightly gaps and bringing lips and teeth into a proper alignment. The crooked teeth which do not correctly fit together are hard to be kept clean and as a result, they are at higher risk because of periodontal diseases or tooth decay.


Only your orthodontist or dentist is capable of determining whether you can actually benefit from orthodontics services. Based on the diagnostic tools which include a full dental and medical health history, plaster models of teeth, a clinical exam and special photographs and X-rays, a dentist can decide on whether to recommend orthodontics and also develop an appropriate treatment plan that is right for you.

In case you have one of the following, then you might seek orthodontics treatment:

· Overbite This refers to a situation where the front upper teeth stick out over lower teeth

· Under bite This is an appearance where lower teeth stick out or where the upper teeth are too far back

· Cross bite This occurs when a tooth or teeth have a lateral misalignment (too close or too far from the cheek)

· Open bite This refers to the upper and lower front teeth that are both flaring outward leaving a vertical gap

· Misplaced midline This occurs when the middle part of upper front teeth doesnt line up well with the that of the lower front teeth

· Spacing These are gaps or even spaces between ones teeth

· Crowding This occurs when there are more teeth than the number which the dental ridge can accommodate


Many types of appliances, be it removable or fixed, are used to aid in moving teeth, retraining muscles and affecting the growth of the jaws. These appliances usually work by placing moderate pressure on the jaws and teeth. The severity of ones problem shall determine the orthodontic approach which is likely to turn out to be most effective.

Fixed appliances include:

· Braces: these are the common fixed appliances and consist of wires, brackets as well as bands. Bands are normally fixed around the tooth or teeth and they are used as anchors to the braces.

· Special fixed appliances: These appliances are used in controlling tongue thrusting or thumb sucking. They are attached to ones teeth using bands.

· Fixed space maintainers: In the event that any baby tooth is prematurely lost, space maintainers are used in keeping the space open until a permanent tooth develops and emerges.

Removable appliances include:

· Aligners: This is an alternative to the traditional braces which are used for adults. The serial aligners are increasing being used by several orthodontists to move the teeth in a way which is similar to how the fixed appliances usually work.

· Removable space maintainers: They are made together with an acrylic base which fits over ones jaw. They also have wire or plastic branches between the specific teeth so as to ensure that the space between them is kept open.

· Jaw repositioning appliances: These are also called splints. These devices are normally worn on the lower or top jaw and helps in training the jaw to always close in a favorable position.

· Lip and cheek bumper: These are appliances which are specially designed to keep cheeks or lips away from ones teeth.

· Headgear Headgear is used to slow the growth of the upper jaw. The device also holds back the front teeth.


In case you have braces, dont bite hard things like nuts and ice cubes. Dont chew the ends of pencils or pens. Also avoid the sticky treats such as chewing toffee or gum because they can distort wires, loosen the braces and sometimes pull the braces off your teeth.


Todays braces are less noticeable and smaller. Besides traditional metal braces, there are also tooth-colored ceramic braces which are less noticeable. There are clear aligners which are available for the adults as well. Braces and the elastics can also be multicolored. Visit your dentist so as to know about all your choices for braces.