Orthodontics is the specialty concerned with moving and adjusting the teeth within the mouth in order to enhance their appearance and improve their function. Orthodontists are dentists with additional training, which allows them to straighten teeth and align jaws in order to give their patients a healthier bite.
When teeth are crooked or don’t bite together well it can lead to social embarrassment as well as serious health problems. Poor jaw alignment can strain the muscles that move the mouth, leading to jaw pain and headaches. Crooked teeth are significantly harder to clean effectively, leading to an increased risk for gum disease and tooth decay. In addition, teeth that are seriously out of place can lead to difficulty speaking or eating.
To move the teeth within the jawbone, orthodontists use dental appliances to put pressure on the teeth. Some are fixed in place; others are removable. Examples of appliances include:
- Braces, made of metal, ceramic, or plastic
- Components that enhance braces, such as archwires, elastics, or headgear
- Clear aligners, or invisible customized trays that fit over the teeth
- Retainers to prevent teeth from shifting out of their new position
Whether you have overcrowded teeth, a misaligned bite, an overbite, or some other alignment issue, an orthodontist can help you have a healthy and beautiful smile.