The aim of orthodontics is primarily to correct poorly positioned teeth to optimize the bite and improve both function and appearance.
Orthodontics is often associated with children. Indeed, very early on in a child’s life, interceptive orthodontics can serve to create necessary space and facilitate the eruption of permanent teeth.
However, more and more adults undergo orthodontic treatment to realign their teeth permanently. Since the basic process of tooth movement is the same in children and adults alike, orthodontic treatment can be done at any age.
Some the reasons for undergoing orthodontic treatment:
- To correct an overbite or teeth that are too high
- To realign teeth
- To correct a space between teeth (diastema) or dental overlap
- To prevent premature erosion
Deciding to have your teeth straightened is always a good idea, and not only to improve the appearance of your smile. Straightening also improves the functioning of the teeth and the jaw muscles in general. A dental disorder exposes patients to a number of complications:
- Increased number of cavities due to the complexity of cleaning overlapping teeth
- Fractures in poorly positioned teeth
- Chronic inflammation of the gums
- Temporomandibular joint problems
There are two kinds of orthodontic treatments: conventional braces and clear aligners.
Braces are definitely the best-known orthodontic technique. It is important to know that braces have changed a great deal in recent years and are now more discreet.
Small metal or porcelain brackets are bonded to the front of the teeth and interconnected by an arch wire, the tightness of which may vary, to gradually shift the teeth according to a predetermined plan. This setup applies very slight but steady pressure on the teeth to move them into their optimal position. The wire will need to be replaced several times with a thicker wire to continue shifting the teeth until the desired results are obtained.
Braces correct the position of the teeth both individually and simultaneously.
Once the braces have been installed, they have to be adjusted in order to maintain the correct degree of tension. Regular follow-up appointments (every six to eight weeks on average) are required to allow the professional to monitor the treatment.
Braces and dental hygiene
Wearing braces requires excellent oral hygiene. Please read our health tip on this subject.
Clear aligners are a solution for patients seeking a more discreet orthodontic treatment than conventional braces, as they do not use brackets or wires.
Clear aligners are a modern and near-invisible method for correcting mild to moderate orthodontic problems. They align teeth just as braces do, but using a transparent, removable aligner.
Just like with conventional braces, adjustment appointments are generally every six to eight weeks. However, clear aligners are changed every two weeks on average, based on your dentist’s recommendations. Each aligner adjusts your teeth according to the plan decided on by your dentist, by applying the required level of pressure.
In general, orthodontic treatment using clear aligners is faster than with traditional braces. Since patient compliance is essential to the success of the treatment, patients must be disciplined about wearing their aligners at all times to avoid prolonging the treatment or compromising the results.
Treatment with clear aligners involves creating a virtual model of your teeth with a computer program to show you all of the steps involved, from the initial position of the teeth up to the final desired result.
Lastly, oral hygiene is easy since you simply remove the aligner to brush your teeth and floss.
Please consult a Lapointe Dental Centres professional to find out whether conventional braces or clear aligners are right for you.