Dental Articles  /  What is Orthodontics? - Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces

What is Orthodontics? – Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces

What is Orthodontics? – Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces
If you have crooked teeth or an overcrowded mouth, you may be a good candidate for orthodontic treatment. Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that works with correcting teeth and jaws that are out of their proper alignment. There are numerous benefits to this type of treatment, including the fact that crooked teeth or those that do not fit together correctly are harder to clean, increasing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Other health problems that can be attributed to crooked teeth or a misaligned jaw include extra stress being put on the chewing muscles, leading to everything from headaches to shoulder and back pain.

In addition to these health issues, orthodontics can also be helpful for those who want to improve their appearance. For this reason, it sometimes falls under the category of cosmetic dentistry, although it can be pursued for health reasons. If you are self conscious about an overbite, crooked teeth, teeth that jut out, or gaps in the smile, then orthodontic treatment with traditional braces or other methods can help restore your confidence and even improve your facial profile. These are just a few benefits associated with seeking orthodontic treatment.

Once you have determined that you are interested in seeking treatment, either through Invisalign or traditional braces, you will first need to sit down for a thorough consultation with your orthodontist. Your dentist or orthodontist will need to take several factors into consideration to make a diagnosis and plan of treatment, including a clinical exam, your full dental and medical health histories, and X-rays of your teeth. You can also expect to have plaster models of your teeth taken so that your bite can be examined, as well as special photographs of your jaw.

With this information in hand, your orthodontist will be better prepared to work out a treatment plan that is personalized for your needs. Many people think that braces are only suitable for children. While it's true that orthodontic treatment may be swifter and more effective in younger patients, due to the pliability of their bones, orthodontics can be applied at any age. However, to qualify for this type of treatment, you will need to have health teeth and bones in place, so that undue strain isn't placed on deteriorating bones and causing further injury.

There are several different specific types of problems that orthodontics can help fix. An overbite is when the upper front teeth stick out over the lower teeth, while an underbite is when the opposite situation is in place, with the lower teeth sticking out slightly too far forward. An open bite refers to a situation where there is space between the biting surfaces of the front teeth. Another common problem that can be solved with cosmetic dentistry is spacing in between the teeth, also referred to as a gap tooth. Braces or other treatments can slowly close this gap for you. Finally, an overcrowded mouth is a common cause for seeking orthodontic treatment.

No matter what your reasoning may be for seeking orthodontic advice and treatment may be, once you have received your diagnosis, you will need to speak to your orthodontist about the preferred plan of treatment. Most patients will need to choose between traditional braces and Invisalign. It's helpful to take a closer look at these two main methods, to determine which will best suit your particular needs. The most traditional form of orthodontic treatment is braces.

Traditional braces are fixed appliances that consist of two main parts, including bands that are fixed around the tooth, and the brackets that are bonded onto the front of the tooth. Wires are then passed through the brackets, which can be tightened every month to put tension on the teeth and gently guide them into new positions. Results can be achieved through this form of orthodontics within any frame of time between a few months and a few years, depending on your age and the severity of your initial situation. Braces have come a long way in recent years, and are now smaller and lighter than in the past. They can come with colored brackets and rubber bands, or can be made clear.

Invisalign, on the other hand, is a popular form of orthodontics treatment that is frequently used by those who specialize in cosmetic dentistry. This involves using specially molded aligners that move teeth in much the same way that fixed appliances do, with no need for the metal wires and brackets. They are virtually invisible, because they are molded to each individual patient's teeth. These aligners are made in a series, so that you can simply replace one with the next in the series every few weeks, gently moving your teeth over time. Generally, they are taken out for eating and cleaning and prevent the common problem of getting food stuck in braces.

Patients tend to prefer Invisalign over traditional braces when they want their orthodontics to be discrete. Using aligners means that you can take them out whenever you need to. Another benefit to this type of cosmetic dentistry treatment is that the full process tends to take less time than it would with traditional braces. However, because each individual's situation is different, you will need to speak to your dentist about what the best option might be for you.

There are a host of other appliances that can be used to supplement these treatments. Orthodontics may also involve the use of retainers, for example, which are worn after a treatment has been completed to hold teeth in place and prevent them from drifting back to their old positions. Whether you choose Invisalign, traditional braces, or other methods of orthodontic treatment, you will want to protect what can be a long and involved treatment process. No matter what your current age is or how crooked your teeth might be, there is usually a method that can be used for every patient who needs orthodontic treatment. The first step is receiving an evaluation and diagnosis.

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