Orthodontics is the dental process used to correct overbites, underbites, open bites, closed bites, and crossbites as well as bite misalignment. Restoring a proper bite is not just for esthetics. An improper bite can result in jaw alignment problems, tooth loss, gum recession, decay and loss of tooth vitality. The following graphics show a proper bite,
and examples of improper bites.
Orthodontic treatment most commonly involves using bands, brackets and elastics (braces) to move teeth back into proper position. The bracket can be metal (silver colored) or ceramic (tooth colored) and the elastics are available in a variety of colors including clear. The choice depends on the patient’s personal preference and not treatment needs.
Orthodontic treatment is usually performed on adolescents, but it can be done on adults. Adult orthodontics is usually not covered by insurance. The length of treatment is usually 18 to 24 months, but could take longer, depending on patient diligence an cooperation with treatment. Once treatment is completed care and maintenance will require the use of a retainer on a daily basis until instructed otherwise by your dentist.
A new proprietary orthodontic procedure called Invisalign is now available. This involves using a series of clear trays to realign the teeth. These trays are custom fabricated in a lab, making Invisalign the more expensive treatment alternative. Depending on your dental needs Invisalign might need to be supplemented using more tradition orthodontic procedures.