In dentistry, orthodontics is the specialty concerned with correcting misalignments of the teeth and jaws. It’s harder to take good care of your teeth if they’re crooked, which places you are at risk of losing natural teeth due to periodontal disease. Misaligned teeth can also lead to painful temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMD). Excellent orthodontic care like we offer at Dental by Design in Phoenix deliver an aligned smile, correct bite, and lifetime of great looking smiles.
After four years in dental school, prospective orthodontists take two or more years of training in orthodontics as a specialty. Orthodontists treat malocclusion, the misalignment of the teeth and jaws. This is accomplished through the use of fixed and removable orthodontic appliances.
The most common types of orthodontic appliances are fixed appliances, including:
- Braces. We’ve all seen metal braces, which use bands, brackets, and wires to apply tension to the teeth, slowly moving them to the proper position over time. Modern braces are far lighter and less visible than they once were. For mild to moderate correction needs, clear braces are available for adults.
- Fixed Space Maintainers. Fixed space maintainers keep teeth from shifting when a tooth is knocked out. These are useful when a baby tooth is lost early. A space maintainer keeps the other teeth from crowding into the empty space.
Unlike fixed appliances, which are bonded to teeth, removable appliances can be taken out. These include:
- Aligners — typically used by adults, aligners work like fixed appliances work, without metal wires or brackets. Almost invisible, clear aligners are removed for eating and brushing.
- Removable Space Maintainers —removable space maintainers do the same thing as fixed spacers. They fit over the jaw with plastic branches that fit between specific teeth to keep teeth from shifting into the empty space.
- Jaw Repositioning Appliances — often called splits, people wear jaw repositioning appliances on the lower or upper jaw. They train the jaw to close in a more normal way. They’re often used for temporomandibular joint disorders.
At Dental by Design in Phoenix, we can provide all these orthodontic appliances and more. Book an appointment with us today.