Just decades ago, there weren’t many options out there for orthodontic care. With many new treatments depending on the extent of what needs to be done, your orthodontic specialist will develop a plan of action especially for you. Orthodontic care isn’t always just about having a beautiful smile; there are times when it can stop the formation of tooth decay or even the development of painful health conditions like TMJ. In general, orthodontics work by retraining the muscles, the growth of the jaw and how it operates, and moving teeth that might not be in the right place. Those objectives can be achieved by using various appliances that can be both removable or fixed.
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The different type of fixed appliances
Braces are traditionally the most commonly used fixed orthodontic appliances. They consist of brackets, wires, and bands. The bands are set around the teeth and serve as the anchor. Brackets are then typically adhered to the teeth and wires are run through them. The idea is to put force on the teeth with wires to slowly move teeth where they need to be. Braces are tightened monthly.
They can take anywhere from months to years to make the necessary adjustments, depending on the extent of your orthodontic care needs. Traditionally, braces only came in a metallic form, but the industry is becoming much more creative, adding colors or even going clear to accommodate both teens and adults.
Specially-fixed appliances are sometimes utilized to stop children from performing bad habits like thumb-sucking, and they are held on by bands. They are not comfortable at all, and should only be used as a last resort.
Fixed-space maintainers are used to hold a space open if a child loses their tooth too early in life and before the permanent tooth can take its place. A band is placed where the tooth was lost and a wire keeps the space open, so that there aren’t any problems when the permanent tooth tries to come in.
The different types of removable appliances
Aligners are the newest alternative to traditional braces. They are ideal because they are nearly invisible and work in the same way that braces do, but can be removed for brushing and eating.
Removable space retainers are devices that work in the same way as the traditional fixed version. They work to keep spaces between teeth open and use wire or plastic that branches off from a base that goes over the jaw.
Jaw-repositioning appliances are also referred to as “splints,” and are devices worn on either the lower or the upper jaw to encourage the jaw to close appropriately. They are used to correct conditions like TMJ.
Cheek and lip bumpers are used to keep the teeth buffered from the forces exerted against them by the lip and cheek. The bumpers help to relieve any effects that the lip or check impose on the teeth.
Palatal expanders are used to widen the jaw’s upper arch. An expander is a removable plate made of plastic that is placed on the upper roof of the mouth. It works by using outward pressure to lengthen the width of the palate.
Removable retainers are worn on the top of the mouth. They work by stopping the teeth from moving. Typically, they are used once braces are removed to ensure that teeth don’t return to where they were before the braces were worn.
Headgear is a head strap that is placed around the head and is typically attached with a wire to the front of your head. Headgear is used to slow the upper jaw from growing, and it is used to hold the back teeth in their current position while simultaneously pulling the front teeth back to correct a bite that is incorrect.
Winnipeg orthodontists have many tools at their disposal to fix both the placement of teeth and an individual’s bite. The appliance that is right for you depends on the extent of work that needs to be done and the treatment plan that you and your orthodontist agree on. The key is to follow the instructions very carefully so that things progress as quickly as possible.