Key takeaways

  • People of all ages can have orthodontic treatments done to correct crooked or crowded teeth.
  • Teeth that are crooked, crowded, or that stick out affect the way your teeth look and work.
  • It’s not just about the look of your smile, straight teeth are easier to clean and less likely to get tooth decay or injured.

Orthodontic treatment straightens your teeth so they look and work better. Braces or other appliances are used to put gentle pressure on your teeth. Over a number of months or years, this pressure can move your teeth into the right position.

Why you may need orthodontics

The position of your teeth and jaws has an effect on your bite. Your bite is how your top and bottom teeth come together. When your top and bottom teeth do not fit together, this is called a malocclusion or a bad bite. Problems like missing, crooked, crowded or protruding teeth can contribute to a bad bite. Thumb or finger sucking may also affect your bite.

A bad bite can make it hard to chew some foods and may cause some teeth to wear down. It can also cause muscle tension and pain. Teeth that stick out are more easily chipped or broken. Crowded and crooked teeth are harder to clean and may be more likely to get cavities and gum disease. Fixing a bad bite improves your smile and your health.

Your dentist may do basic orthodontic treatment or refer you to an orthodontist. Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry that deals with preventing and correcting malocclusions.

Anyone can get orthodontic treatment

Orthodontic treatment isn’t just for teens; teeth can be moved at any age. In fact, more adults are having orthodontic treatment to improve the look and health of their smile. Your dentist or orthodontist can determine if orthodontic treatment is right for you.

Orthodontic treatments

Depending on the extent of your bad bite, your dentist or orthodontist may suggest one or a combination of the following orthodontic treatments to correct your bite:

  • Braces
  • Headgear
  • Removable appliances
  • Retainers
  • Oral surgery

Orthodontic treatment takes time. The amount of time depends on your age, the seriousness of your problem and the treatment technique used. Treatment generally involves a visit to your dentist or orthodontist on a regular basis over a period of months to years. In general, it takes longer to treat adults than children or teenagers. Most people wear braces for about two years.

Content courtesy of the Canadian Dental Association

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