Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that deals with the correction and alignment of teeth. According to Humana, 4.0 million people in the United States have braces — 25% of whom are adults. This means that orthodontic devices are pretty common, and there are a few that you should be aware of including. This article will cover the five most common orthodontics devices and when you would need them.
Braces are among the most commonly used orthodontic devices. They consist of brackets fixed onto each tooth with elastics or “rubber bands” connecting them together. The brackets are then attached to arch wires that guide the teeth into their desired positions. Braces can be used to correct crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, and overcrowding. They are also used for complex adjustments, such as correcting jaw discrepancies and fixing facial deformities.
Braces are composed of stainless steel, ceramic, plastic, or a combination of all three. The types of braces and the materials used vary based on age and medical condition. In recent years, clear braces have become popular as they blend in with the natural teeth color better than metal brackets. Technological advancements, such as self-ligating brackets and lingual braces, offer more discretion for those looking for an aesthetically pleasing solution to straightening their teeth.
Retainers help to keep teeth in place after braces have been removed. They come in various forms, such as Hawley retainers or clear plastic aligners that fit snugly around the teeth like an invisible mouthpiece. Retainers are typically worn full-time for several weeks after braces removal before transitioning gradually to night use only or periodic wear throughout the day. They should be consistently worn as instructed by your orthodontist to avoid teeth shifting back into their original positions.
In addition to keeping teeth in place, retainers can help correct minor dental issues such as gaps between teeth or overcrowding. For best results, retainers should be kept clean and stored properly when not in use. Orthodontists suggest brushing the retainer with a toothbrush soaked in mouthwash or warm water to remove excess food debris and plaque.
Additionally, you should store retainers in a protective case to prevent damage from bending or cracking. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your retainer remains effective at keeping teeth in alignment while providing the comfort and convenience desired by many patients.
Implants are artificial teeth or titanium posts that are surgically placed into the jawbone. You can use them to replace missing teeth, stabilize dentures, and enhance facial aesthetics. Implants provide a secure foundation for dental prosthetics such as crowns, bridges, and removable partials. While they require surgery to place them, implants offer a long-term solution for tooth loss.
Teeth implants are also incredibly durable and provide a secure foundation for the replacement teeth, resulting in a natural-looking feel and bite. Implants have many advantages over traditional bridges or dentures since they offer permanent and stable support. Because implants are securely attached to your jawbone, they act like your own teeth and help preserve the integrity of nearby teeth. In addition, implants can help prevent bone loss in the jaw since they provide stimulation similar to when a tooth is in place.
Implants also require far less maintenance than dental bridges or dentures because they can remain in the mouth for years without needing adjustment. Although implants may be more expensive than other treatment options, the long-term benefits often outweigh the cost.
Headgear is a device that helps to correct the alignment of the jawbone and face shape. It consists of an outer metal brace attached to a strap or band worn around the head or neck. The device applies pressure on the upper jaw, pushing it outward and preventing it from growing further. Headgear can also be used to help straighten crooked teeth and reduce overbites.
You must wear the headgear regularly to achieve desired results, and many people need to wear it for several months or even years, depending on the severity of the malocclusion. In addition to helping correct misalignments, headgear can also help reduce long-term complications and improve oral health. Adverse effects of headgear, however, may include headaches, soreness in the jaw area, and difficulty talking or eating. Speaking with a certified orthodontist is vital to determine your best treatment option.
Orthodontic devices are a great way to address misalignments and other dental issues. While braces are the most common orthodontic device, various other treatments are available, including retainers, headgear, and implants. Each device can help correct malocclusions while providing unique benefits depending on your individual needs.