Orthodontics is the method used to straighten teeth which are crooked or irregular or to correct jaws that are misaligned causing an uneven 'bite' (known as malocclusion. Such treatments are generally performed by specialized orthodontists. The methods and devices in the field of orthodontics have hugely developed over the past years for both adult and child patients, making treatment highly effective for all age groups.

Advantages of Orthodontic Treatment

Simply put, correcting misalignment and/or malocclusion maintaining a healthier mouth in all aspects. Untreated, such conditions can make it hard to clean one's teeth properly leading to decay, the risk of gum disease and resulting in teeth loss. In more extreme scenarios, malocclusion may even affect everyday functions such as speech or chewing. Cosmetically, orthodontic treatment can go a long way to improving your smile, appeal and self confidence.

Malocclusion - Recognizing the Symptoms Symptoms can vary from relatively minor to more severe, and are most apparent in crooked or protruding teeth. During your regular check-ups, your dentist will identify signs of malocclusion and may then recommend you to see an orthodontist. As a starting point, the orthodontist. As starting point, the orthodontist will ask about your past health history, physically check your mouth, create a plaster mould of your teeth and take X-rays - then suggest the best course of action based on your individual case.

Treating Misalignment/Malocclusion Children and young teenagers

With young children's teeth still developing an initial consideration might be to remove any existing teeth that can later cause an obstruction for those that are still to develop. The next consideration will be the use of braces to straighten the patient's teeth and/or jaw - depending on your case. In children, the proper use of braces may be sufficient to correct the problem.

Older teenagers and adults

Further into adulthood, it will still be possible to straighten your teeth through braces, but in rare cases it may become increasingly difficult and may require a different approach. As per The American Association of Orthodontists, 1 in 5 orthodontic patients are over the age of 21.

However, your teeth may still shift back out of alignment, which makes the use of retainers sometimes necessary - either for a short term or mostly for a number of years. Your orthodontist will advise you on this depending on your case.

Caring for Your Teeth during Orthodontic Treatment

As part of your treatment and post treatment, it is crucial to take good care of your mouth and teeth at home, something your orthodontist will be able to advise you on.

Key issues to remember will be to ensure you brush and floss well after eating, to use your retainer as your orthodontic specialist recommends, avoid both hard and soft sweets during treatment, and incorporate extra fluoride or vitamins, if recommended by your orthodontist.

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