Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that focuses on the alignment of teeth. An orthodontist is an expert who skillfully manipulates the teeth into the appropriate positions. Dentists simply prevent and treat diseases and other conditions that affect the oral cavity.
It’s quite common for orthodontists to work together with dentists in order to successfully correct a patient’s malocclusion, which is a term that describes an improper configuration of the teeth. Crowding, overbites, underbites and gaps are some common malocclusion classifications.
People who are in need of orthodontic correction are often encouraged by dentists to get the appropriate treatment. For example, pediatric dentists can anticipate the formation of crooked or misaligned permanent teeth in teenagers. From there, they can point the patient in the direction of an orthodontist to correct the malocclusion.
Braces are simple metallic devices that are bonded to the teeth. They are also linked to each other via metal wires that can be adjusted. Every month or so, an orthodontist needs to pull and manipulate the arch wires in order to stimulate gradual movement of teeth. Over time, the roots and soft gum tissue also move into the right place.
It’s highly recommended that patients still visit their dentists for routine oral exams and cleanings while they are undergoing orthodontic correction. Poor oral hygiene can lead to cavities and other complications that might slow down the orthodontic process. For example, some braces might have to be temporarily removed before a new crown or large filling is installed in a damaged tooth. After a major dental procedure is completed on specific teeth, brackets and arch wires can be replaced to resume orthodontic treatment.
A popular alternative to braces is known as Invisalign®, which is a transparent and removable mouthpiece. This device is specifically molded to fit over an orthodontic patient’s teeth. Invisalign® comes with its advantages. For one, adults can seek orthodontic correction without having to worry about revealing any metal and wires while talking or smiling.
Once braces or Invisalign® mouthpieces are no longer needed, orthodontists usually give patients retainers that can prevent relapses. Failure to wear the retainer may cause some straightened teeth to move back into their original positions.
If you think you may need braces and have been looking for an orthodontist in the Oak Lawn area, we invite you to make an appointment at Petty & Bielik Orthodontics. Contact us today to schedule an orthodontic appointment!