Orthodontics: Aligning Teeth for an Attractive Smile


Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on correcting poor bites and misaligned or crooked teeth. Orthodontists receive extensive training in dentofacial orthopedics and orthodontic techniques like braces, retainers, and aligners to straighten teeth and help patients obtain an attractive smile.

Types of Malocclusion

There are different types of malocclusions or poor bites that Orthodontics treat:

Overbite: When the front teeth overlap vertically more than normal. A large overbite can cause wear on the front teeth.

Underbite: Known as mandibular prognathism, when the lower jaw extends forward beyond the upper jaw causing the lower teeth to overlap the upper teeth.

Open Bite: When the front teeth do not touch properly. This prevents good chewing function.

Crossbite: When the upper teeth are outside the lower teeth on one or both sides or the teeth don’t fit together properly from side to side.

Crowding: When there is not enough space in the dental arch for all the teeth, causing them to be cramped or overlapped.

Spacing: Occurs when there is too much space between teeth, resulting in a gummy smile and less-defined chin.

Braces for Misaligned Teeth

Braces are one of the most common Orthodontics treatment options to gradually move misaligned teeth into proper alignment and positioning. Braces work through the application of constant light pressure over time and can include:

Metal Braces: Still the most popular type consisting of small brackets bonded to the front and back of each tooth, connected by an archwire that applies corrective forces.

Ceramic Braces: Aesthetic alternative to metal braces made of translucent or tooth-colored ceramic material for brackets. Less visible than metal braces.

Lingual Braces: Inconspicuous braces placed on the back side of the teeth for ultimate discretion. More difficult for orthodontists to place and adjust.

Invisalign Clear Aligners

Invisalign is a series of nearly invisible, removable clear plastic aligners that straighten teeth without the need for traditional braces. Aligners are custom-made specifically for each patient based on a 3D model and moves teeth in small increments over the course of treatment. They are less noticeable than braces and easier to remove for eating and cleaning. However, aligners require strict wear compliance of 22 hours a day for best results.

Retainers after Braces Treatment

After braces are removed, a retainer such as a clear plastic retainer or wire retainer must be faithfully worn long-term to maintain the straight smile and prevent teeth from relapsing back into old positions. Retainers hold teeth securely in place as the bones and gums strengthen around the new tooth arrangement. Most orthodontists will have patients wear retainers full-time for 6 months and then nightly for 2 years or longer depending on the case.

Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment

Beyond cosmetic considerations like obtaining an attractive smile, orthodontic treatment done in conjunction with other dental care offers several health benefits:

Improves Bite and Chewing Ability: Malocclusions can interfere with proper chewing and swallowing. Correcting a bite facilitates more efficient chewing.

Prevents Future Dental Issues: Crooked teeth are harder to keep clean and are more prone to tooth decay and periodontal disease. Straight teeth have better oral hygiene access.

Boosts Self-Esteem: Having a smile makeover through orthodontics can significantly raise self-confidence and quality of life.

Enhances Facial Balance: Orthodontics refines facial features through optimizing tooth and lower jaw positioning for a more harmonious facial profile.

Gives Functional Benefits: Airways are better able to accommodate the proper tongue resting position. Reduced risk of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) discomfort.

Orthodontics covers a wide scope of practice aimed at giving patients not just cosmetic improvement but stable dental health through optimized tooth structure and jawbone relationships. With treatment done by an experienced orthodontist, straight, aligned teeth can last for many years with proper retainer use. Having an attractive smile boosts confidence, appearance, and overall dental health.

1.  Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it