Every year, over 9 million people in the United States get orthodontic treatment. The reasons for treatment vary from preventing and treating major dental issues to getting a better-looking smile. Whatever the reason, the results can be dramatic and beneficial.
If you’ve been wondering exactly “what is orthodontic treatment and what does it entail,” you’re not alone. Let’s take a look at what you need to know about orthodontic treatment and how it can benefit you.
What Is Orthodontic Treatment?
A broad orthodontic or orthodontia definition is that it’s a branch of dentistry that focuses on irregularities of the teeth and how to correct them. Orthodontics includes preventing, diagnosing, and treating both dental and facial irregularities.
Orthodontic treatment leads to straighter teeth without gaps or crowding. It also treats improper bites that can become problematic, as well as helps the overall health of the teeth and gums. Orthodontics can even improve speech function in some cases.
What Issues Can Orthodontic Treatment Help?
Orthodontics can treat a wide variety of issues, both inherited and acquired. Some commonly inherited problems include over or underbite, crowded teeth, gaps between the teeth, or missing teeth.
Bite problems can sometimes be caused by skeletal growth problems as well, such as underdevelopment of the lower jaw. Treating these kinds of issues early can lead to an easier treatment process.
Orthodontics can also treat problems that people acquire later on. For example, you may need treatment due to trauma, premature tooth loss, or thumb-sucking.
Orthodontic treatment is beneficial at almost any age. Children should be evaluated by age 7, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. This can allow for early detection and correction to prevent more intense treatment later.
However, treatment can also be successful for adults. Approximately 1 out of every 5 orthodontics patients today are adults.
What Kinds of Treatments and Appliances Are Available?
The treatments and appliances that are used will vary depending on the issue. In general, they can be divided between fixed and removable appliances.
Traditional metal braces are one of the most common types of fixed appliances used in family orthodontics. Over time, they can create drastic improvements in both the teeth and bite.
Removable appliances can include headgear and retainers. Invisalign trays are also a common option. Many adults choose to get Invisalign because it can treat problems like braces do, while being discreet and removable.
What Is the Process of Orthodontic Treatment?
Orthodontic treatment begins with a consultation with an orthodontist. They’ll be able to diagnose any problems and create a treatment plan to address them. They’ll also go over the orthodontia cost and if there s help available through your insurance plan or financing.
Then, you’ll begin treatment, which will vary depending on your diagnosis. Your orthodontist will match you with appliances that meet your dental needs and lifestyle. During your treatment, you’ll need to have checkup appointments every few weeks.
After treatment ends, you may be given a retainer to maintain your new smile. Your orthodontist will explain if and how you should wear these and if there are any further steps you’ll need to take.
Get the Smile You Want
Knowing the answer to “what is orthodontic treatment” can help you get started on straightening your teeth. Orthodontists and Invisalign dentists can help walk you through the process to get your dream smile.
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