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Orthodontics is the specialist area of dentistry concerned with improving the appearance, function and stability of teeth and jaws. An orthodontist is a dentist who has gone on to complete an additional 2-3 years of specialist university study in orthodontics.
What causes orthodontic problems?
Most orthodontic problems – like crowding, too much space between teeth, extra or missing teeth – are inherited. A wide variety of irregularities result in the need or simply the desire for orthodontic treatment.
Acquired malocclusions can be caused by accidents, thumb or finger sucking, dental disease or premature loss of baby or permanent teeth.
Why is orthodontic treatment important?
Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean. This can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, abnormal wear of the tooth surface, inefficient chewing action and excessive strain on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth.
Most untreated orthodontic issues worsen over time. Treatment by a specialist to correct the original problem is often less costly than the additional dental care required to treat serious problems that can develop in later years.
In addition, well aligned teeth and a properly functioning bite are key ingredients to an attractive smile. Orthodontic treatment can bring the teeth, jaw and mouth into proportion with the face, increasing self esteem and confidence.
Is orthodontic treatment only for children?
Both children and adults can benefit from orthodontic treatment. The introduction of clear braces and behind-the-teeth braces makes correcting malocclusions a realistic option for everyone.
How long does treatment take?
Orthodontics, like all good things, takes time. Treatment is also as unique as you are. Treatment time is generally dependent on the growth of the mouth and face, the severity of the problem, and the patient’s commitment to treatment. Treatment typically ranges from 3 – 24 months.
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