Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry which deals with both the diagnosis treatment, and management of crooked, maladjusted, or misaligned teeth and jaw patterns, and related problems. It may also specialize in correcting facial development, called facial orthodontics. The most common disorders requiring orthodontics treatment are alveolar recession, gum disease, jaw pain, TMJ, cleft palate, and jaw disorders. Some problems may also be associated with facial development, such as an overbite or underbite. Orthodontics specialists may perform surgeries for correcting jaw abnormalities and for the treatment of specific diseases. They also provide counseling regarding general hygiene and nutrition.
In orthodontics treatment, the orthodontist will examine the patient and review the medical history. The primary objective is to diagnose conditions that may require corrective measures. The orthodontist will usually order laboratory tests, x-rays, CT test, and muscle testing. The bone will then be evaluated using computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and endoscopic x-ray. When required, an orthodontist will apply controlled forces to realign bones. Various types of appliances such as metal braces, plastic crowns, ceramic aligners, clear mouth retainers, splints, retainers, laminators, special lenses, retainers, and appliances used for bonding, are sometimes used in orthodontics treatment.
Most people, at some time, will suffer a slight misalignment in their teeth, resulting in a "stork tooth." This condition may result from improper bite mechanics or from inadequate growth of permanent teeth. The orthodontist can correct these conditions during orthodontics treatment. Some people have difficulty with over-bite, meaning that they tend to close their jaws too much when they are eating or talking. People with under-bite have problems when their teeth do not fit together properly, resulting in "horns" or "teeth chips" in their mouth. Orthodontics treatment for this condition may involve the use of custom-made appliances to help the patient bite properly.
In general, the benefits of orthodontics treatment include healthy, straight teeth. Straight teeth allow a person's mouth to form a proper seal against its surrounding environment, which results in improved oral health and increased ability to chew food and communicate comfortably. In addition to improving dental health, straight teeth improve an individual's appearance. Straight teeth enhance confidence, which may lead to better social interactions with co-workers, friends, or other people.
There are several different reasons why an orthodontist might perform orthodontic treatment. In most cases, this occurs as a result of misalignment issues around the maxilla (the sensitive area at the bottom of the tooth) or the mandible (the bone that supports the lower jaw). In severe cases, bone malformation may also be present. An orthodontist can perform specific treatments to correct these alignment issues.
Orthodontics may also help correct malocclusion (focusing on your chin). Malocclusion is when your jaws are improperly aligned. The most common orthodontics treatment plan involves braces to physically move your jaws back into a proper position. For many people, orthodontics has become part of their overall dental care routine.
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