Orthodontics is an effective way to correct issues with the positioning of your teeth and jaws, including crowding, spacing, overbites, and underbites. At West Brazos Dental Center in West Columbia, Texas, the team of experienced family dentists provides orthodontics, including traditional braces, to help kids, teens, and adults achieve the smile of their dreams.
Orthodontics Q & A
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with malocclusion — issues with the positioning of the teeth and jaws. Orthodontics uses appliances such as braces and aligners to gradually shift teeth into the right place. The purpose of orthodontics is to correct these positioning issues, resulting in straighter, healthier teeth and a healthy bite.
You may think of the benefits of orthodontics as mostly cosmetic. It’s true that many people are thrilled with their new smiles after undergoing orthodontic treatment, but straight teeth are also easier to keep clean, and positioning issues can cause a range of problems, including:
Lisps and other speech impediments
Neck, shoulder, and back pain
Orthodontics can correct or prevent these problems and give you or your child an exceptional smile for years to come.
Who is a good candidate for orthodontics?
Your dentist at West Brazos Dental Center determines whether you or your child needs orthodontics using diagnostic tools, including X-rays and plaster molds. Orthodontics can correct positioning problems including:
Overbite, when your upper teeth stick out over your lower teeth
Underbite, when your lower teeth stick out too much or your upper teeth are too far back
Crossbite, when your upper and lower teeth don’t meet correctly when you bite down
Spacing, when there are large gaps between your teeth
Crowding, when there’s not enough space for your teeth in your mouth
Most orthodontic patients are children ages 10-14. That’s an ideal age to get braces because your child’s head and mouth are still growing and their teeth can be straightened more easily.
Orthodontic treatment may start at an earlier age to address problems like crowding. Generally, younger children don’t receive braces just yet and instead use appliances such as palate expanders to correct problems.
How long does treatment with braces last?
In most cases, you or your child needs to wear braces for 18 months to two years to correct alignment issues. Sometimes, the treatment period is shorter or longer. This depends on the amount of correction needed, as well as age and compliance with treatment, including wearing appliances as directed. Adults typically have to wear braces for a longer period than children.
After your braces are removed, your orthodontist usually provides a removable retainer to keep your realigned teeth in place. Expect to wear your retainer for up to 12 months, including around-the-clock for the first 4-6 months.
To learn more about orthodontics for yourself or your child, schedule an appointment at West Brazos Dental Center.