Orthodontists are specially trained dentists who diagnose and treat problems with bite and alignment. Although many people associate braces with teenagers, more adults are choosing to have their teeth straightened thanks to the treatment option of clear braces. Even so, it isn’t always easy to determine if you should get braces in the first place. Sometimes orthodontists can treat mild alignment problems another way. That is why visiting an orthodontist for a consultation is so important.
Typical Reasons for Orthodontic Treatment
Having crooked, crowded, or overlapping teeth are among the most common reasons for getting braces. Specific problems may include teeth growing in sideways, on top of each other, or extending out further than other teeth. You may have a problem with crowding if you regularly have difficulty flossing your teeth because they are too close together.
The desire to improve the appearance of their smile is the primary reason many people choose orthodontic treatment. However, straightening your teeth has important oral health benefits as well. Teeth that press closely together are challenging to keep clean. This in turn can lead to tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and other significant issues.
Teeth spaced too far apart can affect the way your jaw functions and the accuracy of your bite. An overbite or underbite affects the way your teeth fit together and can cause chronic jaw pain, TMJ, and other oral health problems. Getting braces is the best way to minimize the risks associated with overbite, underbite, or misalignment.
Traditional and Invisible Braces
Standard metal braces consist of wires and brackets attached directly to your teeth. You visit your orthodontist approximately once a month to have them tightened so they put continuous pressure on your teeth to move into the desired position. When you have invisible braces, you wear a clear plastic aligner that puts pressure on your teeth as well. You replace the aligner with a new one approximately every two weeks. Your orthodontist requests a dental laboratory to create the custom aligners at the start of your treatment based on your X-rays and impressions.
No matter what your age, you can still correct orthodontic problems with braces. Many people prefer invisible braces due to their discreteness, shorter duration of treatment, and more time in between appointments. A local orthodontist will let you know if you’re a good candidate for either type of braces after meeting with you and evaluating your specific alignment problem
Dr Gerald O’Connor is the principal dentist and owner of Killiney Dental. Dr O’Connor graduated with an honours dental degree from University College Cork in 1998. He has since worked as a general dental surgeon in the UK and Ireland and has over 20 years experience in the dental field, with a particular interest in cosmetic and restorative dentistry. Dr O’Connor is an active member of the Irish Dental Association, sitting on its Quality Patient Safety Committee, and is a Irish Dental Council registered dentist.