What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a specialized field of dentistry that is concerned with correcting both misaligned teeth and jaws in order to provide patients with a healthier and better looking smile. Common orthodontic problems, such as crowding, spacing, and protrusion, are known as malocclusions. While some malocclusions are hereditary, others stem from dental disease, accidents, or habits such as thumb-sucking. Not only does orthodontic treatment lead to a more desirous smile, but it also gives patients a better bite by ensuring that patients’ teeth fit more perfectly. While there is a common misconception that orthodontic treatment is mostly for adolescents and teenagers, adults can also receive orthodontic treatment: age is not a qualification for treatment.
Why Visit an Orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who completed an advanced education after dental school in order to learn how to properly align teeth for both a healthier smile and bite. Orthodontists aim to craft a more perfect smile by diagnosing, preventing, and treating malocclusions. Patients undergoing orthodontic treatment not only attain a more aesthetically pleasing smile, but also can bite, chew, and speak more effectively at the end of treatment. Here are several of the most common maladies that can be treated by an orthodontist:
Spacing problems: Gaps that occur between the teeth when teeth are missing or teeth don’t fill up the mouth.
Crowding: If your jaw bone isn’t big enough to accommodate all your teeth, they will become crowded.
Missing lateral incisors: Sometimes a patient’s lateral incisors aren’t present. The problem is usually congenital, and can be corrected with braces.
Underbite: An underbite can give you a “bulldog” appearance because the lower teeth push too far forward and the upper teeth are too far back.
Crossbite: A crossbite occurs when the teeth do not bite together normally. The front teeth are not slightly in front of the lower teeth.
Open bite: With an open bite, when you are unable to make your front teeth touch each other while biting. In another words, you will have space between the biting surfaces of your teeth when you close them together.
Overbite or “buck teeth”: An overbite is when the upper front teeth stick out over the lower teeth.
Midline Discrepancy: The center of your upper teeth won’t match up with the center of your lower teeth.
How Orthodontic Treatment Works
Through the use of appliances, either fixed or removable, an orthodontist applies gentle pressure to the teeth to gradually shift them into their ideal positions. While braces are the typical fixed appliance, clear aligners, such as Invisalign, offer an alternative. Dr. Aljanabi offers both braces and Invisalign at his offices in Brooklyn and Staten Island.
It may also be useful to understand the names of some of the common appliances and devices that orthodontists employ over the course of treatment.
Appliance: A device designed to move the teeth, change their position, alter the position of the jaw or hold their teeth in place after braces are removed. Like braces, appliances may be attached to the teeth or may be removable, like a retainer.
Braces: A fixed orthodontic appliance, usually comprised of brackets, bands and wires.
Archwire: A metal wire attached to brackets and used to move the teeth.
Metal Band: A metal ring that is cemented to a tooth.
Brackets: Brackets are cemented to the teeth and hold the archwire in place.
Ligature: Ligatures hold the archwire to the brackets and are usually tiny elastics or twisted wires.
Rubber Bands and Elastic Hooks: Rubber bands are attached to elastic hooks and help move the teeth into their final position.
Retainer: A fixed or removable appliance usually placed to keep the teeth in the correct place.
Separators: To create space between teeth, an elastic ring or small wire loop called a separator is placed between the teeth a week before the metal bands are cemented to the teeth.
Below is a video identifying the individual components that constitute braces, an emblematic and traditional orthodontic treatment.
Here are the three major possible causes of malocclusion:
Heredity. As stated above, malocclusions may flow into the family genetically. Our
genes dictate how big or small our teeth are and what shape they take when we mature.Even our jaw width and shape will be dependent on our genes. Big teeth on a small jaw can lead to crowding. Small teeth on a big jaw may cause diastemas.
Oral habits. During our younger years, we develop different habits like thumb sucking that could interfere with the normal alignment of our teeth. Since our bones are still soft at that time (less dense compared to adults’ jawbone), a simple habitual thumb sucking can move our teeth to an undesirable position.
Early loss of baby teeth. This can be a causal factor too especially when space
maintaining appliances are neglected. As an example, when your baby tooth is lost before your permanent tooth appears, the adjacent teeth may be repositioned into the space for that certain permanent tooth– ensuing conceivable space problems.
You probably have observed these issues on children’s teeth. If so, having an appointment with
Dr. AlJanabi would thwart these from occurring or worsening. Early detection of orthodontic problems would lessen the severity of potential malocclusion, possible tooth infections and,
decrease the expenses.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), it is best to have children assessed by an orthodontist at the age of seven. That age is recommended for ease in correcting and guiding teeth eruption, jaw development, and oral habits like thumb sucking and minor speech problems. Moreover, tooth extractions can also be prevented.
Also, proactive parents can gauge if their child necessitates orthodontic attention. If your child exhibits any of the following, you can always go to our clinic in Brooklyn, NY for assistance:
● Premature loss of baby teeth
● Presence of oral habits like thumb sucking
● Difficulty performing functions like chewing, speaking, closing the lips
● Apparent teeth crowding, overly teeth spacing or cheek biting
● Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude or are recessed
● Facial asymmetry
● Teeth grinding
With the recent growth in the orthodontic field, braces are no longer as dreadful as many teens may imagine. In fact, braces today come in an assortment of styles, materials, and colors; this acts as a benefit for many teens who are concerned about their appearance.
In Brooklyn, NY, we offer a number of possibilities to pick. There are conventional metal, ceramic and invisible braces. Each has its own uses and indications. You may discuss with Dr. AlJanabi ifwhich option will be best for your case. With us, you have the choice of easy, comfortable and stylish braces.
Some may ask if braces are still applicable for patients age 21 and above. The answer is—YES! According to the AAO one out of five orthodontic patients is an adult. Contrary to conventional thought, orthodontics is not just for children and teens. Generally, adults decide on having braces because they appreciate the importance of having properly aligned teeth to facilitate better function and maintenance and they desire to feel more comfortable with their tooth appearance.
No matter what your age is the moment you become aware that you need to have braces, you can always consult Dr. AlJanabi. Our team will be able to recommend all the latest orthodontic options. A good bite will entail better chewing and speaking functions, an improved look and confidence.