Everyone knows what a dentist is, but what is orthodontics? The word "orthodontics" is comprised of the Greek words orthos, for straight, and odons, meaning teeth. Orthodontics is a dental specialty focused on treating issues such as misaligned teeth, jaw irregularities, and problems with bite patterns.
While you might think that most orthodontic patients are teens and pre-teens, the AAO says that one in four orthodontic patients are adults, and you're never too old for orthodontic treatment. Just like children and pre-teens need misaligned teeth corrected, adults can also develop issues with bite patterns or uneven teeth that need to be corrected.
Here are some common issues orthodontics fixes and the benefits of visiting an orthodontist.
What Problems Can Orthodontics Fix?
Orthodontists don't just straighten teeth -- they can fix a variety of orthodontic issues such as:
Overcrowding - this occurs when there isn't room for all of your adult teeth to grow properly.
Malocclusion (or a bad bite) - this includes an overbite, underbite, and even overcrowding. If left untreated, malocclusion can increase the risk of tooth decay or developing TMJ.
Aesthetics - you don't have to feel self-conscious if you don't have a perfectly straight smile. We can use braces, clear braces, or clear aligners to give you a straight smile! Proper teeth and jaw alignment can also improve the shape of your face.
Problems with speech due to malocclusion - in addition to being uncomfortable, malocclusion can affect the way you speak. One of the many benefits of orthodontic treatment is that it helps restore your ability to speak.
What Falls Under Orthodontic Treatment?
While the most common orthodontic treatment that immediately comes to mind is braces, orthodontists do a lot more than straighten teeth. Orthodontic treatment starts with a thorough exam including x-rays and bite impressions. This allows orthodontists to provide an accurate diagnosis and set up a treatment plan.
Orthodontic treatment can be used on its own or combined with cosmetic dentistry or oral and maxillofacial surgery if needed.
Orthodontic treatment includes:
Fixed oral appliances to straighten teeth or a misaligned jaw, which includes metal or ceramic braces
Removable appliances such as retainers and clear aligners that straighten teeth
Treatment plans that fix orthodontic issues in stages
When Do I Need to See an Orthodontist?
You can develop orthodontic issues at any age. The general recommendation is that children should see an orthodontist by the age of seven. This doesn't mean they're going to need braces immediately -- they might not need any treatment at all!
This recommendation is for early orthodontic issues to be caught as soon as possible. It's best to start preventative treatment early when it comes to correcting a misaligned bite or overcrowding.
You're never too old to seek orthodontic treatment. If you want to learn about treatment options to straighten crooked teeth, or are concerned about having an overbite or underbite, contact our dental office in Fremont, CA.
Pros of Orthodontics
That said, teeth can shift for many different reasons and orthodontic issues can arise later in life, too. Regardless of your age, the pros of orthodontic treatment include:
Better oral hygiene
A more aesthetically pleasing smile
Reduced risk of cavities and gum disease
Easier to brush and floss teeth
Orthodontist in Fremont, CA
Interested in orthodontic treatment in Fremont, CA? Call us or book an appointment today! Dr. Chew is dedicated to helping his patients get the beautiful smile they've always dreamed of.