Do you have crooked teeth? Do you want to straighten your smile? There are plenty of ways to achieve a beautiful, healthy smile. For starters, you might want to ask your orthodontist about braces and retainers.
Why choose an orthodontist? While dentists can perform basic teeth alignment, orthodontists specialize in addressing other issues and irregularities concerning your teeth and jaws. With a more focused approach to treating these problems, orthodontists are more effective.
Wondering what your first orthodontist visit would be like? You will be asked about your health and medical history. A clinical exam, X-ray images and impressions of your teeth and jaw will also be taken.
Once the exams are done and your needs are taken into consideration, your orthodontist will create a treatment plan customized to your unique needs. In serious cases, surgery may be required, but that seldom happens. In many instances, braces or removable retainers are all that is necessary to address bite problems, teeth misalignment and more.
Braces apply constant pressure to gradually move misaligned teeth to their ideal positions. Once the desired changes are made, the orthodontist may require you to wear removable retainers to hold the teeth in position and prevent them from shifting. There are also mini-braces, which are smaller compared to conventional braces. Speak with your orthodontist about which option is best for you.
As for the length of time wearing braces, it greatly depends on the extent of orthodontic issues sought to be addressed. Your orthodontist will look into these factors, among others:
- space available between teeth
- distance from the teeths present position to their desired point
- health of the teeth, gums and jaw bone
On average, braces are required to be worn for two to three years, remaining in place until the orthodontist removes them. Once removed, the orthodontist may replace them with removable retainers, which are usually worn continuously for the first six months and intermittently for the next six months.