Orthodontics is done to heal any type of malocclusion disorder or in simple lay man’s terms you can call it is “bad bite”. A malocclusion disorder is incorrect positioning of teeth that affects the right functionality of the 2 jaws. Thronged teeth, overbites, under bites or jaws that are out of alignment fall under malocclusion.
The reasons for malocclusion can be abnormal tooth development, jaw size restrictions, thumb sucking or late loss of baby teeth, accident etc.
The time needed for this treatment varies from person to person. Both children and adults can enjoy the same benefits from orthodontics.
There are many different types of malocclusion, and each of them may be caused by several reasons. The causes of malocclusion and orthodontic problems generally fit into three categories, hereditary, tooth loss and oral habits. Crowding problems caused by large teeth in a small jaw is a hereditary caused condition, while an overbite caused by thumb sucking is an acquired orthodontic problem.
Causes of Malocclusion
The main causes of dental malocclusion are described below:
• Hereditary causes related with the development of jaws and teeth
• Tooth loss related with non-hereditary factors such as diseases or trauma
• Oral habits that affect the teeth and jaws health
Hereditary Causes of Malocclusion
A general cause of malocclusion is teeth that have too much or too little room in the jaw.
• Size & shape of teeth & jaws – The size, shape and structure of our jaw bones and teeth are controlled from our genes. If a family has a history of large teeth, it is very likely that new members will have them also. These genetic factors may result in large or small teeth in a normal mouth, or normal teeth in a small or a large jaw. Any asymmetry between teeth and jaws can cause malocclusion and lead to orthodontic problems. Large teeth in a small jaw will get crowded, while small teeth in a larger jaw will drift out of place causing spacing problems. In other cases, genetic prevalence may result in missing teeth or teeth that erupt in one another’s place (transposed teeth). More rarely, people are born with conditions that can create malocclusion problems, such as a cleft palate
• Evolution – a theory is trying to explain orthodontic problems in modern humans based on the hypothesis that Homo Sapiens have evolved smaller jaws without a reduction in the number of teeth happening at the same time
• Growth pattern – even if a person’s teeth and jaws are going to be normal sized when fully developed, an uneven growth pattern of the jaws during permanent teeth eruption usually leads to malocclusion.
The following conditions result in excess space for teeth and lead to spacing problems:
• Missing teeth – some children are born lacking one or two teeth in their jawbones, or they do not develop and erupt properly.
• Small teeth– some children may have small teeth that cause diastema (gapped teeth).
• Large jaws– some children’s jaws are relatively large compared to their tooth size.
The following conditions result in less space for teeth than what is needed and lead to crowding problems:
• Extra Teeth – Sometimes, a person can have extra teeth. These teeth will usually erupt in strange positions and angles, or they will be trapped in the bone between erupted teeth and will not erupt.
• Small jaws – A small jaw can result in a limited amount of space for the teeth to grow. As with extra teeth, permanent teeth do not have enough space to erupt properly and cause teeth malocclusions.
Hereditary factors may also cause other teeth malocclusion problems such as crossbite, overbite and underbite:
• Different size of jaws – if the upper or lower jaw is larger than the other jaw, the person will likely have an overbite or underbite respectively.
• Misaligned Jaw and Bone Structure – A misaligned jaw or supporting bone structure will not only create malocclusion but it will also seriously affect the function of the mouth, leading to oral health conditions such as TMJ disorder (TMJD) and teeth grinding (bruxism).
Tooth loss may cause drifting of bordering teeth into the empty space, creating a bad bite. Common causes of tooth loss are:
• Trauma – if you lose a tooth due to a sports injury or an accident, then adjacent teeth may start to drift into the empty space. Wearing a dental mouthguard can significantly reduce the risk of teeth injuries.
• Dental Diseases – Tooth decay or gum disease may lead to the loss of one or more teeth; this often leaves a space where other teeth drift towards.
• Premature loss of primary teeth (baby / deciduous teeth) — Baby bottle tooth decay, a form of severe early childhood caries, that is common in kids who use to fall asleep with a bottle of sweetened liquid in the mouth, can cause the premature loss of several primary or even permanent teeth. If a primary tooth is lost too early, the permanent tooth loses its guide and can drift or erupt incorrectly.
• Malnutrition – nutritional deficiencies can alter the growth of the jaws and teeth.
Oral habits that place pressure on the teeth may slowly move the teeth out of place. The most common oral habits that cause malocclusion include:
• Thumb sucking – Although thumb sucking is a normal habit for babies, it causes serious orthodontic problems if it continues long after the eruption of permanent teeth. Prolonged thumb sucking can create crowded, crooked teeth, or bite problems. The child may also develop speech problems or problems with swallowing properly. Protrusion and displacement of front teeth are usual results of thumb sucking. Learn how to make kids to stop thumb sucking.
• Pacifiers – pacifiers cause similar problems like thumb sucking. Use of pacifiers as a substitute of finger sucking is not recommended.
• Lip-biting / Fingernail biting – both habits can shift the teeth out of alignment.
• Tongue Thrusting – Some children thrust their tongue forward, pressing it against the lips with a force that can result in teeth malocclusions such as ‘open bite’ or teeth protrusion (overjet).
While parents cannot do much to prevent an orthodontic problem caused by hereditary factors, they can help their kids to avoid the need for braces, by maintaining good oral hygiene and avoiding bad oral habits that could cause teeth malocclusion problems.
Modern orthodontists are usually able to treat most teeth malocclusions successfully, but prevention can help the family to avoid the large cost of orthodontic treatment and the child will not have to wear dental braces and feel uncomfortable.
Types of Maloclussion
Common bite irregularities include:
Class I malocclusion
Upper and lower jaws line up correctly but your teeth are crooked, crowded, turned, or spaced apart.
When teeth are unusually large or if the jaw is smaller than normal, so that the permanent teeth may not have enough space to move into the right position or even to erupt at all (impacted teeth).
When there are large and uneven spaces between the teeth. Gapped teeth are usually caused by missing teeth or smaller than normal teeth in relation to the size of the jaw.
When a tooth turns or tips out of its normal position.
When a tooth erupts in one another’s place.
Overbite (Class II malocclusion)
When the upper front teeth overlap excessively over the lower teeth. In some cases, the biting edges of the upper teeth touch the lower front gum tissue or the lower teeth bite into the roof of the mouth.
Underbite (Class III malocclusion)
When the lower front teeth are positioned forward of the upper front teeth
Crossbite — a crossbite occurs when any or all of the upper teeth are positioned significantly inside or outside the lower teeth. A crossbite can cause chewing problems.
Open bite — when the upper and lower front teeth don’t meet, creating an opening on one or both sides of the mouth. Because the front teeth don’t share equally in the biting force, the condition may lead to premature wear of the back teeth.
Misplaced midline — when the front center line between the upper front teeth doesn’t match up with the center line of the lower front teeth.
Overjet – when the upper front teeth angle horizontally outwards (horizontal). This type of malocclusion is usually referred as “buck teeth”
Gaps in Teeth
Diastema, known as gaps in teeth in common terms, is a distinctive gap between the teeth, especially between the upper front teeth which are known as incisors. This is a very common condition in children between ages of 6 and 8. In most of the cases, the gap perishes eventually with the growth of permanent teeth. And in some cases, the gap will not close even after eruption of permanent incisors and canines. We recommend to consult us in these cases as this is a case of orthodontics.
Causes of Gapped Teeth
Diastema is natural in most of the cases. However, below mentioned factors may also cause diastema:
• Mismatch of size between the jaw and the teeth – This could cause gap in teeth as the jaw size is bigger than normal which creates extra space available for the teeth.
• Missing teeth can also cause diastema.
• Abnormal bone structure of the jaw – This may prevent the upper two teeth from touching normally.
• Lip biting – Lot of kids have the habit of biting their lower lip which may cause the front teeth drift apart leading to diastema.
• Tongue Thrusting – Some have habit of pushing their tongue against the front two teeth which may again lead to gap in teeth
• Oversized labial fraenum – It is an extended piece of tissue under the middle of the upper lip to the gum above the two front teeth. In some cases, this piece of tissue to grow further between the two front teeth which creates a gap. This is also termed as maxillary diastema.
• Lingual fraenum – The fraenum that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth is called lingual fraenum. This also may be a cause of the gap in teeth on the lower jaw.
Treatment at Lookswoow
A lot of people are very conscious about their appearance and gap in teeth has a negative effect. We offer several cosmetic dentistry treatments for correcting this.
We recommend the following treatments:
• Orthodontic treatment – With the use of dental braces, our orthodontist can close the gap between the teeth. In this treatment, the teeth move slightly closer to each other. For larger gaps, our orthodontist moves several teeth towards the area of the gap to make them equal between all teeth. This treatment gives permanent results; however, it may take a long time to complete (a year in cases of big gaps).
• Bonding or dental veneers – Also referred as bonding. Our cosmetic dentists close the gap by making the teeth adjacent to the gap to look wider by applying a composite material (tooth bonding) or porcelain veneers on the front surface of the teeth. It only takes 2 appointments for this procedure at lookswoow and results are immediate. However, we do not recommend this procedure for large gaps as the teeth will look abnormally wide.
• Prosthetic dentistry – Our dentist recommends this procedure if diastema is caused due to missing teeth.
Other treatments we also offer for diastema are dental implants, bridge or partial denture.
Orthodontic treatment to correct abnormalities in tooth position, is highly recommended for curing or preventing functional problems caused by malocclusion. Related problems include chewing and digestive problems, TMJ disorder, speech impediments, tooth wear and more. Even if the malocclusion is not so serious to cause dental problems, orthodontic treatment is recommended for cosmetic reasons to improve the person’s appearance and self-esteem.
Orthodontic problems are usually more easily corrected if dental braces are placed early after the eruption of permanent teeth up to adolescence. The orthodontist will evaluate each individual case and decide if and when to start orthodontic treatment or the type of braces to be used, but it is very important that he/she is consulted before the malocclusion problems cause any damage to teeth.
Why You Need Orthodontic Treatment?
Human teeth are rarely perfectly aligned. A mild misalignment of the teeth (malocclusion) causes no medical or functional problems and little cosmetic concern, while a severe malocclusion may cause a number of problems not only functional or health related, but also psychological ones. Cases of severe malocclusion require orthodontic treatment in order to restore proper mouth function, improve dental health or even just restore the patient’s self-esteem.
Dental Problems caused by Malocclusion
Tooth decay and gum disease – brushing and flossing teeth is much more difficult when teeth are crooked, crowded and particularly if they are overlapping. Plaque is easily accumulated in the hard to clean spaces between not properly aligned teeth. Poor oral hygiene due to orthodontic problems can lead to tooth decay and also increases the risk for periodontal (gum) disease and tooth loss. Straight teeth can help in maintaining good oral health as they collect less dental plaque that is easier to clean with regular brushing and flossing.
Injury to the gums – in some severe cases of overlapping teeth, a misaligned tooth may reach to the gums of the opposing jaw and cause soft tissue injury.
Fractured teeth – protruding upper front teeth are more likely to be broken or cracked in an accident.
Wear and tear – when teeth are misaligned the grinding forces of chewing are not evenly distributed to the chewing surfaces of all teeth. For this reason, orthodontic problems are related to abnormal wear of tooth surfaces. Usually, the back teeth are more affected.
TMJD syndrome – malocclusion may put the facial muscles and the jaw joints under increased stress leading to a condition with symptoms of intense pain in the face or neck, chronic headaches and unusual clicking or grinding noises when the jaw opens and closes. This condition is called temporomandibular joint disorder syndrome (TMJD).
Chewing and digestive problems – Bad bite problems, especially those caused by jaw misalignment, can prohibit proper chewing and grinding of food. Partially chewed food can cause chronic digestive problems or even nutritional deficiencies.
Speech impediments – Misaligned teeth or jaws can interfere with proper pronouncing of sounds like ‘s’, ‘r’, ‘t’ or ‘z’ where correct positioning of the tongue in relation with teeth is important. Such speech difficulties can be corrected through orthodontic treatment.
Snoring and breathing problems – improper jaw positioning may cause snoring or breathing problems during sleep (a condition called sleep apnea).
Self-confidence – an unattractive smile can seriously affect the person’s self-esteem and self-confidence. Many people with orthodontic problems avoid to smile or feel uncomfortable when they speak.
Unlike strictly cosmetic procedures, orthodontic care can also benefit long-term dental health. Orthodontic treatment can not only improve appearance and build self-confidence but will also improve dental health and will help in the prevention of dental and general health problems.
The positive effects of an orthodontic treatment are so significant in the modern world, that many adults are now going back to the orthodontist for braces in order to correct malocclusion problems.
Signs of Orthodontic Problems
Parents should pay attention for any signs and symptoms that might indicate the existence of an orthodontic problem. Children with some type of malocclusion problem (teeth misalignment) usually have some of the following symptoms:
►Crowded, crooked, misplaced or abnormally aligned teeth
►Teeth that meet abnormally or not at all with the teeth of the other jaw
►Difficulty in chewing food or biting
►Biting the cheek or roof of the mouth
►Speech difficulties, trouble saying certain words.
►Pain in the facial muscles or jaws that shift or make sounds
►Abnormal appearance of the face
During regular dental visits, the dentist will typically check the child’s mouth for any signs of developing malocclusion. You should inform your family or pediatric dentist about any oral habits (such as thumb-sucking), difficulties with speech, chewing, or any other of the malocclusion symptoms described above. Your dentist will then recommend an orthodontic evaluation if necessary.
Early orthodontic diagnosis can make treatment much easier and reduce the cost for dental braces. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children get a checkup with an orthodontist by age 7.
Orthodontic Evaluation and Diagnosis
Orthodontic evaluation is done by orthodontists, dentists who have special training in the diagnosis and treatment of malocclusions (teeth misalignments). During the initial orthodontic evaluation the orthodontist first makes a visual inspection of teeth and mouth. Learn how to find an orthodontist.
If the orthodontist finds any signs of malocclusion, another appointment is scheduled where x-rays, photos, and impressions are taken. These diagnostic records provide the necessary information to analyze the orthodontic problems, complete the diagnosis and determine the proper orthodontic treatment plan.
The steps of an orthodontic evaluation include:
Oral, facial and functional examination to determine:
• the health status of teeth and gums.
• Growth asymmetries between teeth and jaws
• Placement of the teeth in the jawbone.
• Fit between the upper and lower teeth.
Jaw joint function. Panoramic and profile X-rays of the mouth, to check the jawbone and teeth and to identify:
• The position of not yet erupted permanent teeth in relation to the primary teeth.
• Any missing teeth or teeth that are blocked and unable to come in properly (impacted).
• The root structure of the teeth.
• The relative position of teeth in the jaw bone.
• Any problems with the temporomandibular joints
Intraoral and facial photographs. Facial photographs and intra-oral photographs are taken to help the orthodontist evaluate facial proportions and facial aesthetics.
Impressions of the teeth and bite. Plaster impressions of the upper and lower jaws are used to develop models for closer examination of the teeth and how the upper and lower teeth relate to each other.
Orthodontic Treatment Planning
Orthodontic treatment planning is based in:
►defining the characteristics of malocclusion and dentofacial deformity
►determining the nature of the orthodontic problem
►designing a treatment plan based on the specific patient’s needs
►deciding the orthodontic appliances that will be used to correct the problems
►estimating the time that will be required for the treatment
►Deciding on the most appropriate age that orthodontic treatment should start.
When to start Orthodontic Treatment
Orthodontists can today correct successfully the malocclusion problems regardless of the patient’s age. But that does not mean that the orthodontic treatment starting age does not matter. In fact it may play a significant role in the total time and expenses required for the completion of the orthodontic treatment.
After the initial orthodontic evaluation, the orthodontist will recommend the best age to start treatment, so that the best results will be achieved with less investment in time and money.
Even though for most cases it is ‘the sooner – the better’, that is not a general rule for all patients. The best age to start wearing braces will vary from patient to patient, but it is very important that an initial orthodontic evaluation is done early enough, immediately after a possible problem is noticed.
When to Visit an Orthodontist
The American Association of Orthodontist (AAO) recommends that all children have a check-up with an orthodontist by the 7th year of age, for early detection of any potential problems. The child’s teeth may appear straight to the eyes of the parents, but there could still be a problem that only an orthodontist can detect.
By the age 7, some of the permanent teeth have erupted, so that most children have a mix of adult and baby teeth. At this stage of mixed dentition, an orthodontist can spot potential orthodontic problems related to jaw growth and eruption of adult teeth. Some growth-related orthodontic problems are easier to correct when they are identified early, while the facial bones are still growing.
When a problem is detected, the orthodontist may not always recommend immediate treatment. In most of the cases parents are advised to bring the child every 6 months for periodic monitoring of the jaw growth and dental development.
Although only a few orthodontic problems need to be corrected at the age of 7, it is considered as an ideal time to evaluate a child’s condition and determine if orthodontic treatment is or will be needed. In case of existing or potential malocclusion problems, an early orthodontic screening allows the orthodontist to offer advice and guidance for the best age to start treatment and what kind of treatment will be appropriate.
At What Age to Start Orthodontic Treatment
In the past, orthodontic treatment was common only during adolescent or teenage years, when all the permanent teeth had erupted. Until some years ago, it was unusual to start orthodontic treatment at the age of 7 or after 20’s. But today the situation is different; you can meet patients of a wide range of ages in an orthodontist’s waiting room. Orthodontic treatment can start in:
►Early childhood – certain conditions, such as crowding, may be easier to address by starting an orthodontic treatment from the age of 7. Early treatment allows to take advantage of the jaw bones growth process to guide teeth to their correct position.
►Adolescent and teenage years – if there are no problems that require an early intervention, orthodontic treatment is most effective at this age when all the permanent teeth have erupted and most of the jaw development has completed.
►Adulthood – Adult orthodontics offer the opportunity of a better smile to all those that couldn’t get orthodontic treatment in their teenage years. Treatment in adults generally takes more time and might require corrective jaw surgery because the jaw bones are already fully developed.
In order to determine the best time to start the treatment of malocclusion problems, the orthodontists evaluates a number of factors such as:
►when it will be most effective to achieve the movement of misaligned teeth,
►when the minimum time will be required and
►How to minimize the cost of orthodontic treatment for the patient.
Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment
Early orthodontic evaluation gives the opportunity to the orthodontist to design a treatment plan to correct the teeth misalignment in a time and cost efficient way. An early orthodontic treatment (also known as Phase I or interceptive treatment) can take into advantage the growing process of the facial bones.
The usual goal for an orthodontist to start a child’s treatment at an early age is to guide the growth of jaw bones and create the optimum environment for the eruption of permanent teeth. This may prevent the development of more serious problems in the future and may make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated.
For example, a teeth crowding problem may occur when the dental arch is too small to fit all of the teeth. For a teenager where the jaw bones were almost fully grown, the only solution for crowding was almost always to extract some of the permanent teeth. This can be prevented by starting the orthodontic treatment in earlier age and using expansion devices to modify the width of the palate, which can help teeth come in straighter and into better positions.
Interceptive orthodontic treatment may also be useful when the dental arches and jaws are not in the correct position. Certain types of functional (growth) appliances may fix or improve these problems. Treatment may also include the use of space maintainers after a baby tooth is lost to hold the space open for the permanent tooth. Dental braces may be still needed later but the required treatment will be shorter and simpler.
Early treatment does not apply to all orthodontic problems. However, it may help in several cases to:
►Guide jaw growth into favorable direction and size
►Prevent more serious problems from developing
►Lower the risk of injury to protruded front teeth
►Reduce treatment time and complexity at later age
►Minimize the need of jaw surgery
►Minimize the need of permanent teeth extractions
►Correct harmful oral habits (i.e. thumb or finger sucking, tongue thrusting and mouth breathing)
In the past, orthodontic treatment was expected to take place only during adolescent or teenage years. Dental braces were linked with the image of a young teenager, usually around the age of fourteen, wearing metal braces. Until some years ago, it was very rare to see an adult patient with dental braces.
Today the situation is different; you can meet patients of a wide range of ages in an orthodontist’s waiting room. Adult orthodontics are more common than ever. Over one in five orthodontic patients in the United States is an adult.
If you are an adult with orthodontic problems, there is no reason to continue live with them especially with so many modern treatment options available. Adult orthodontics can now offer you a better smile with straight teeth.
Why You Need Adult Orthodontics?
Some adults with malocclusion problems did not get orthodontic treatment when they were children for a variety of reasons, such as high treatment cost not affordable by their family or because they were being embarrassed about wearing braces.
Orthodontic treatment for adults is affordable, and dental braces are smaller and less visible than they used to be. Even if you continue to feel uncomfortable about wearing braces, you now have the option to select either ‘invisible’ braces or (in some easier cases) other alternative methods that do not need braces (‘instant orthodontics’).
Adults are more likely to need orthodontic treatment based on dental health concerns. Adult orthodontics can help prevent many serious dental and general health problems such as gum disease, tooth wear or loss, TMJ disorder, chewing, digestive and breathing problems.
Malocclusion problems such as crooked teeth or large gaps between teeth, even if they’re not severe, can have a significant impact on the way people feel about their smile. A person’s appearance may seriously affect his/her professional and personal life. Many adults are more willing today to undergo orthodontic treatment mainly for cosmetic reasons.
Are You Too Old for Brace
The mechanics and process of teeth movement to correct misaligned teeth are the same regardless of the patient’s age. This means that orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age.
Some adults are concerned about delayed adult orthodontics treatment being more difficult or taking more time than treatment at childhood. It is true that moving teeth to their proper position may take slightly longer because an adult’s facial bones are no longer growing. However, adult patient are usually more compliant with following the treatment’s schedule and the orthodontist’s instructions, which might actually lessen the overall adult orthodontics treatment time.
The type of treatment that is suitable for a case of adult orthodontics may differ by the one that would possibly use if the patient was in childhood, but the outcome will be the same. If you take good care of your teeth and gums, you are never too old for having straight, beautiful teeth with adult orthodontics.
Treatment Options for Adult Orthodontics
There are a variety of dental treatment options that are designed specifically to meet needs of adult orthodontic patients. Along with the classic metal braces which are not that popular, other options include:
►Ceramic clear braces that can straighten teeth quickly and discreetly
►Invisalign® teeth aligners> which are removable and almost invisible. They are not recommended for severe cases.
►Lingual braces that attach to the back of the front teeth are another option for those who do not want others to notice that they are undergoing orthodontic treatment.
►Instant orthodontics with porcelain veneers can be used for minor teeth misalignments and small gaps, offering immediate results without having to wait for braces to move teeth.
►Dental implants have also made treatment possible for many adult orthodontic problems that could not be treated in the past.
The orthodontists evaluate each case and suggest which treatments are suitable for the specific orthodontic problems. Treatment plans for adult orthodontics have to be adjusted and designed based on the fact that the mouth has finished growing. In some severe cases there might be increased need for surgical orthodontics.
Duration of Treatment
A common question between all those who consider to start orthodontic treatment is ‘how long do I need to wear braces?
Duration of orthodontic treatment may differ significantly from person to person depending on the individual characteristics of each case. Typical orthodontic treatment time is expected to be from six months to three years, although a year and a half is the average.
How Many Times Should I Visit An Orthodontist?
Usually orthodontic patients need to see the orthodontist once per month. During these visits the orthodontist is going to change & adjust the wires, springs, or rubber bands to make sure that the orthodontic braces are applying the right amount of pressure on the teeth to move them to their new position.
Factors Affecting Orthodontic Treatment
Important factors in determining the duration of an orthodontic treatment (and the orthodontics cost as well) are:
►the severity of the case, complexity of the orthodontic problem that requires correction
►state of health of the teeth & gums
►the width of distance that teeth should be moved
►location of teeth to be moved
►growth and tissue response to treatment
►the cooperation of the patient (he should attend all his appointments on time and take care not to damage appliances)
►proper use of retainers after the braces removal
►expertise of the orthodontist
►treatment plan and technique
Orthodontics use a combination of different treatment approaches such as the use of orthodontic appliances, teeth removal, or jaw surgery to fix the way teeth and jaws are aligned.
Different types of orthodontic appliances may be used for different purposes in the course of an orthodontic treatment. Some, such as dental braces, are designed to primarily move teeth in three dimensions (orthodontic), while others are used to correct problems related with facial growth (orthopedic).
There are two general types of orthodontic devices, based on if they can be removed by the patient or not.
Fixed Orthodontic Appliances
Dental Braces– are the most common type of fixed orthodontic appliances. They are sets of brackets cemented to the front of each tooth, and stainless steel wires threaded through them. The gentle and consistent pressure of orthodontic braces slowly moves and correctly repositions the teeth. The braces need to be periodically adjusted by the orthodontist. Dental braces can be made of metal (stainless steel, gold, silver), ceramic or plastic material.
Fixed functional appliances – are usually fixed to the upper and lower molar teeth and may not be removed by the patient. Functional appliances are used to normalize growth discrepancies between the upper and lower jaw. They use the muscle action from speaking, eating and swallowing to create forces that move teeth and align the jaws to correct protrusion problems.
Palatal expanders – are also fixed orthodontic appliances. Palatal expanders are fixed to the upper back teeth in order to make the upper jaw wider. The use of palate expanders in patients with a smaller jaw may decrease the need for extraction of one or more permanent teeth to prevent teeth crowding.
Removable Orthodontic Appliances
Headgear is a type of orthodontic appliance that puts pressure to the upper teeth and upper jaw to guide the direction of upper jaw growth and tooth eruption. Rubber bands are hooked to the braces and connected to a strap worn around the head. The headgear may be removed by the patient and is usually worn 10 to 12 hours per day.
Retainers are removable orthodontic appliances made of molded plastic and wire. They hold the teeth in their correct positions after orthodontic treatment has finished and braces are removed. A retainer is usually worn for at least six months up to several years after orthodontic treatment.