If you have crooked teeth and/or a misaligned bite (an underbite or overbite), there are a variety of treatments that can help straighten teeth, including braces and retainers.
Many general dentists are doing basic alignment and orthodontics, but orthodontists specialize in correcting irregularities of the teeth.
The dentist or orthodontist you choose will ask questions about your health, conduct a clinical exam, take impressions of your teeth, take photos of your face and teeth, and order X-rays of the mouth and head. An appropriate treatment plan is made based on analysis of the gathered information.
In some cases, a removable retainer will be all that’s necessary. In other rare cases (especially when there is an extreme overbite or underbite), surgery may be necessary. In most cases, however, braces will be needed.
How long do you have to wear braces?
On average, however, once the braces are put on, they usually remain in place for 1 to 3 years. After braces are removed, most patients will need to wear a retainer all the time for the first 6 months, then only during sleep for many years.
When is the right time for braces?
Patients with orthodontic problems can benefit from treatment at nearly any age. An ideal time for placement of braces is between 10 and 14 years of age, while the head and mouth are still growing and teeth are more accessible to straightening. However, because any adjustments in facial appearance can be traumatic to a child during these sensitive years, parents should discuss the matter with their children before braces are applied.
And braces aren’t just for kids. More and more adults are also wearing braces to correct minor problems and to improve their smiles.