Orthodontics is the field of dentistry that specializes in diagnosing and treating alignment and bite issues. Straight, properly aligned and spaced teeth are healthier and look better. An orthodontist straightens your teeth using a variety of treatments such as braces or dental appliances.
If your teeth are misaligned, or if you have a malocclusion or “bad bite,” it places stress on your teeth and supporting tissues. Over time, this stress can lead to damage to your teeth and injury to your mouth and jaw.
By straightening your teeth, an orthodontist ensures that you have a normal bite and that your teeth and jaws remain healthy.
The traditional orthodontic treatment uses metal braces that are attached to your teeth. The braces apply pressure to each tooth, gradually guiding it into the correct position. While you are wearing braces you need to ensure that the braces are kept clean and free of debris to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
You will normally wear braces for approximately two years before they are removed. This gives your teeth and jaws enough time to gradually adjust to your new bite. After the braces are removed you may need to wear a plastic retainer to hold your teeth in place while the supporting tissue heals and your teeth settle into their new positions.
Invisalign aligners are made of clear plastic and fit right over your teeth, becoming virtually invisible when you wear them. Like braces, they gently reposition and straighten your teeth over a period of time, usually two years. Unlike braces, they can be removed while you eat, brush or floss.
If you choose Invisalign, your teeth will be assessed to see the amount of correction they need, and then you'll be provided with your first set of aligners. Over the treatment period, approximately two years, you'll receive a new set of aligners every two weeks. Each set is slightly different from the one before it, so your teeth will be gently and gradually repositioned and realigned.
After the treatment period, you may need to wear a plastic retainer to hold your teeth in their new positions while the tissue surrounding them adjusts to the change.