One of the most rapidly evolving areas of dentistry, orthodontics involves the use of corrective appliances, including braces and retainers, to straighten crooked teeth and/or repair an irregular bite. Since the introduction of new clear and "invisible" braces, orthodontic treatment has gone from something reserved for children and teenagers to an option for adults with cosmetic and functional dental issues. To learn more about orthodontics, please read the sections below.
Orthodontic treatment can straighten teeth and correct a misaligned bite, but in some cases, it can take several years to achieve the end result. Before beginning treatment, it is important to investigate your options and speak with your dentist and/or orthodontist to find out which orthodontics solution is best for you.
Orthodontists align teeth with braces by applying constant pressure in a desired direction. The pressure is adjusted at prescribed intervals over the course of the orthodontic treatment, which can last from one to three years or longer depending on the severity of the patient's case. There are several types of orthodontic braces available to consumers, including the traditional metal braces and new clear braces. Learn more about orthodontic braces.
Invisalign® is a new orthodontic treatment that gradually straightens teeth through the use of custom-fitted plastic aligners. These aligners are worn 24 hours a day except for when eating and drinking. Because they are "invisible" in the mouth, invisalign® aligners have become the most popular orthodontic treatment option for adults with crooked teeth or misaligned bites. Learn more about the invisalign® system.
Adult Orthodontic Options
Dentists now have several orthodontic treatments to offer adult patients who wish to straighten their teeth without the use of traditional metal braces. From "instant orthodontics" with porcelain veneers to invisible braces, these new methods allow adults to transform their smile quickly and discreetly.
Orthodontists for Children
According to the AAO, children should meet with an orthodontist and undergo a screening by the time they reach 7 years, because growth-related problems can be identified at this time. When a child is 12 years old, 90 percent of his or her face has already developed. If problems are detected early, treatment can be provided to guide facial development. Such early treatment by an orthodontist is often less costly than the care required to treat more serious problems that can develop in later years.
Choosing an Orthodontist
Orthodontists are highly trained dental professionals who have devoted their practice to the diagnosis and treatment of misaligned bites and jaw disorders. Whether you are seeking orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child, there are certain characteristics you should always look for in a qualified orthodontist.
Orthodontics Cost and Financing
Orthodontics can be daunting for those on a budget; however, there are several financing alternatives to assist with the cost of orthodontic treatment. In many cases, payments can be made in installments over a long period of time.
Find an Orthodontist near You
To inquire about child or adult orthodontics, find an experienced orthodontist in your area. DocShop can provide you with a list of orthodontists in your city, as well as information about their practices.