Learn About this Specialty from Your Orthodontists in Chicago IL
Orthodontics, also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics, is a specialized dental field which focuses on correcting what are known as “malocclusions,” or teeth which do not fit together correctly. Because malocclusions almost always result from poorly aligned teeth, orthodontics is associated primarily with the straightening of teeth via treatments such as braces. However, orthodontic treatment can extend beyond the teeth, often involving diagnosis and correction of jaw issues that can contribute to improper tooth position. Furthermore, our orthodontists in Chicago IL can often change the entire appearance or profile of the face, thanks to corrections in jaw abnormalities. Orthodontists are dentists by training, in that they complete 4 years of dental school. Their specialty designation results from the additional education and training they receive that is concentrated solely in orthodontics.
The basic premise of most orthodontic treatment is the application of deliberate forces exerted on teeth which results in their movement into the desired alignment. Such forces are implied by devices that are cemented to the teeth, while other appliances can be taken in and out at the patient’s discretion. The decision to employ fixed (i.e., cemented) or removable orthodontic appliances is based on treatment goals and patient preference. Historically, most orthodontic devices were composed of metal. In today’s world, however, materials can range from metal to ceramics and even high-strength plastics.
Changing the position of a tooth is possible thanks to the body’s own physiological mechanism of altering bone in response to the pressures placed on teeth. When teeth are pushed in a certain direction, the bone in front of their intended path is slowly degraded, allowing teeth to move into this new space. In the void left behind, new bone is created to fill the negative space where the tooth once was. Without this biological phenomenon, changing the alignment of teeth might not even be possible.
Often associated with discomfort and unattractiveness, braces are not necessarily the burden they once were. Advances in the science of dental materials have resulted in orthodontic appliances that are more comfortable, aesthetic, and efficient. In addition, patients have more customization options than in years past. Whether it is deciding between braces that are metal or ceramic, picking the colors of orthodontic bands, and even choosing where on teeth braces are placed, it is easier than ever to get effective treatment that conforms to a patient’s wishes.
Many people will be faced with the prospect of undergoing orthodontic treatment at one time or another. The primary advantage of wearing braces is a healthier and more attractive smile. Those who complete orthodontic treatment benefit from a higher quality of life thanks to increased self-esteem and fewer dental problems throughout their lifetime. The latter is arguably the greatest benefit of all—straighter teeth are healthier teeth. They are easier to keep clean, thus resulting in fewer cavities, and they reduce the chances of disorders such as bruxism (tooth grinding) and TMJ. Clearly, orthodontics is far more than an aesthetic endeavor—it is truly in the best interest of your overall oral health.