Orthodontics involves several treatment methods that are intended to align the misaligned teeth. Apart from affecting a person’s facial and physical appearance, malocclusion leads to an improper bite. If this persists for long, then it also becomes responsible for headaches, TMJ disorder, neck, back, and shoulder pain.
What are the various types of malocclusion?
Overbite: The upper front teeth protrude over the lower teeth.
Underbite: The lower teeth stick out forward or the upper teeth lie far backward.
Open bite: The upper and lower jaws are clenched, the molars of the upper and lower jaw meet but the frontal teeth don’t.
Crossbite: The teeth of the lower jaw would be displaced either towards the tongue or the cheeks and wouldn’t align perfectly with the teeth of the upper jaw.
Reverse bite: The upper teeth fall inside the lower teeth when the jaw is clenched.
Spacing: There are unequal and excessive gaps between adjacent teeth which is caused due to the extraction of teeth or a wide dental ridge.
Crowding: There are more teeth than the dental ridge can hold, due to which they overlap on each other.
Why should you get malocclusion treated?
Orthodontic treatment helps in aligning the teeth, thus offering a healthy and beautiful smile. If the misaligned teeth are left untreated for a long time, they could lead to TMJ disorder, pain in the jaws, unequal and excessive wear of teeth, jawbone deterioration, etc. Also, cleaning crooked teeth can be difficult as a lot of microbes tend to get left behind on the teeth no matter how well you brush and floss. Hence, getting your teeth aligned perfectly would be of great help.
Types of orthodontic treatment
The treatment of malocclusion is carried out using orthodontic appliances. They can briefly be divided into fixed and removable appliances.
Braces: They consist of bands, wires, and brackets. The band is placed around the teeth, the brackets are fixed to the front surface of each tooth, while the archwires are positioned through the brackets and are attached to the bands. The tightening of the archwires applies pressure on the teeth, which helps in bringing them to proper alignment.
Special Fixed Appliances: They are used to prevent tongue thrusting and thumb sucking. These devices remain attached to the teeth by bands.
Fixed Space Maintainers: If a premature tooth is lost untimely, a space maintainer is placed till the new tooth emerges or a prosthetic is placed.
Invisalign: These are mainly designed for teens and adults. They work the same way as braces but don’t have metal wires or brackets. They remain virtually invisible. They are to be removed while brushing, flossing, and eating, but have to be worn for the most part of the day.
Removable space maintainers: They function similar to fixed space maintainers. They have an acrylic base with plastic branches positioned within the specific teeth to maintain the gap.
Jaw repositioning appliances: These are also known as splinters. They help the jaw close in a favorable manner. They are also used for treating TMJ.
Lip and cheek bumpers: These appliances ensure the lips and cheeks stay away from the teeth, thereby avoiding the pressure that they could apply on the teeth.
Palatal expander: This is a plastic plate that helps to widen the arch of the upper jaw. It is placed on the roof of the mouth. The outward pressure applied helps to open the palate lengthwise.
Removable retainers: Placed on the roof of the mouth, they help the teeth from going back to their original position (relapse) after orthodontic treatment.
Headgear: A strap is placed through the back of the head bonded by wires in the front. They help in preventing the excessive and outward growth of the jaws.
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