Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on correcting misaligned teeth and jaws. This includes overbites and underbites, crooked or crowded teeth, or teeth with too much space between them. An orthodontist is a dental specialist who is trained to perform these treatments, using braces, retainers, and other devices to fix these problems. The amount of time it takes to complete treatment depends on the patient's age, the severity of the problem, and the treatment technique used.
Generally, it takes longer to treat adults than children or teens. Most people wear braces for about two years. Visits to the dentist or orthodontist are usually required on a regular basis during this time. To keep your bite correct and prevent your teeth from returning to their original place, your orthodontist may prescribe a retainer for you to wear at certain times.
The orthodontist will adjust the wires over time as your teeth move during the course of treatment. There are several different types of removable appliances available, and which one is best for you will depend on the treatment you received and any problems that persist. Orthodontic elastics are a special type of elastic bands that are used together with braces to help correct jaw problems or tooth alignment. For those who want to keep their braces out of sight, lingual braces can be placed on the back of the teeth so that they are hidden from view. In some cases, an impacted tooth can be taken through the gum and placed in the correct position through a procedure known as “exposing and joining”.
In some cases, temporary anchorage devices (TADs) may be used to help move teeth into their correct positions. Once the orthodontist finishes using the TADs for treatment, they will be removed and the area will usually heal completely within a couple of days.