Orthodontists Practice Orthodontia to Make Teeth Perfect

It may be minimally correct to say that orthodontists deal with crooked teeth, but that is a gross oversimplification of their function. Orthodontists may transform evenly horribly malformed teeth into presentable dental specimens. To do so, orthodontists are highly trained in advanced dental procedures. Orthodontists are dentists who have received additional training beyond dental school in diagnosing and correcting malpositioning of teeth. Dental school is three years of professional education all by itself, and training in orthodontia requires another one year.

Orthodontists Practice an Ancient Science

Orthodontia is not a new dental specialty. In fact, archeologists have found ancient mummies with metal bands around their teeth. The braces of today may be descended from a long history of dental intervention designed to correct a malocclusion. Even in ancient times, braces were employed by skilled practitioners. Severe overbites and underbites were corrected by dental specialists even then.

Orthodontists Are Known for Braces

Braces are the primary tool applied by orthodontists and what they are best known for. Many children ten, eleven, and twelve years old are seen wearing braces. Braces consist of metal wires inserted into brackets or braces. The braces are shaped to interact with the wires to move teeth into proper position. Braces are generally made of stainless steel, but can be made of a less noticeable or more appealing ceramic. In some cases, there are “appliances” or additional plates added to the braces to move the jaw or more stubborn teeth. Braces are put on children as young as six, and for younger children, there is more likely to be a need for a functional appliance to aid in their growth.

Retainers Are Also Commonly Used

Orthodontists also prescribe retainers. Some retainers will serve in place of braces, but others are prescribed in addition to braces, both before and after. They may be applied before braces in order to keep teeth in position while surrounding gums move and grow. Much to the surprise of some children and many parents, retainers are nearly always prescribed after braces in order to prevent teeth from returning to their previous position. In some cases, instructions from the orthodontist are that retainers are to be worn night and day, but they are always to be worn at least overnight. Also, retainers may be a permanent prescription after braces. Many people approaching middle age are expected to wear their post-brace retainers. Speaking of people approaching middle age, even though braces are generally worn by children, they may be worn by adults, too.

Braces Will Be Worn for One Year or Longer

Children wear braces for one year or longer. Two years is quite common, and even three years is not unusual. A period of many months is required for braces to achieve their aim. Braces maintain a constant pressure which over time moves teeth into their desired position. Braces are sometimes started on younger children of even six or seven, who wear braces for a period of only several months before they are removed, with the anticipation that they will wear braces again at a later age. In some cases, braces are worn twice even by older children, when the first application does not achieve the desired result.