Bite Problems and How to Fix Them
Orthodontic treatment can resolve a number of bite problems, which often become evident by around age 7. These include
underbite, crossbite or excessive overbite, where upper and lower teeth don’t close in the proper position; open bite, where space remains between top and bottom teeth when the jaws are closed; and crowding or excessive spacing, where teeth are spaced too close together or too far apart.
To correct bite problems, teeth need to be moved — but doing that isn’t as hard as you might think! Teeth aren’t fixed rigidly in their supporting bone; instead, they’re held in place by a hammock-like structure called the periodontal ligament, which is very responsive to forces placed on the teeth. Orthodontic appliances move teeth by careful application of light, constant pressure. This force can be applied via metal wires that run through small brackets attached to the teeth (braces), or via the
semi-rigid plastic of clear aligners.
Having orthodontic treatment in childhood is ideal in order to take advantage of a youngster’s natural growth processes to help move the teeth into proper alignment. Like the rest of the body, the teeth and jaws are now changing rapidly. So at this time, it’s possible (for example) to create more room for teeth in a crowded mouth by using a “palatal expander” to rapidly widen the upper jaw. This phase of growth modification can shorten overall treatment time and ensure the best result if additional orthodontic appliances are needed.
Remember, healthy teeth can be moved at any age, so you’ve never “missed the boat” for orthodontic treatment. In fact, about one in five of today’s orthodontic patients is an adult. Several new technological developments — including tooth-colored ceramic braces and clear aligners — have made orthodontic appliances less evident, and enhanced the treatment experience for grown-ups. Before treatment, adults are carefully examined for signs of periodontal (gum) disease, which will be brought under control before treatment.
Metal Braces need no introduction. But you might be surprised to find they’re smaller and lighter than ever. They may even offer some customized options, like colored elastic ties on the brackets.
Clear Braces feature brackets made of ceramic or composite materials which blend in with your teeth, Clear braces.making them harder to notice. They’re suitable in many situations, but they cost a little more.
Clear Correct for teens is a series of removable, clear plastic trays that gradually straighten teeth as they’re worn (for 22 hours per day). Formerly recommended only for adult patients, they now come with special features —
Clear aligners.like compliance indicators to tell how often you’ve been wearing them — that make them appropriate for teens in some situations. The advantage: they’re practically invisi
Once your orthodontic treatment is completed, it’s extremely important to wear a retainer as directed. That’s because teeth naturally tend to drift back to their original locations — which is the last thing you want after you’ve gone to the trouble of straightening them! Wearing a retainer holds your teeth in their new position long enough for new bone and ligament to re-form around them. This also helps keep your gorgeous new smile looking great for a lifetime.