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What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that deals with the correction of improperly positioned teeth and jaw. Misaligned teeth can lead to other serious teeth and jaw problems because they may be harder to clean and care for. This may include a higher risk of decay, periodontal disease, and tooth loss. Teeth which are not aligned may also cause extra stress on the chewing muscles that can lead to headaches, TMJ syndrome and neck, shoulder and back pain. Lastly, misaligned teeth typically result in lower confidence in one’s smile.

Our orthodontist Dr. Garlock had to receive two and a half more years of education beyond his four years in dental school to become a specialist in orthodontics. This is required by law and benefits patients knowing that their orthodontic treatment is being done by someone trained to treat all of their problems in a fast, effective, safe and gentle manner.

Why choose an orthodontist over a general dentist?

Some general dentists offer minimal orthodontic treatments such as Six Month Smiles or other programs. These solutions may seem appealing at first, however, orthodontists have an additional 2-3 years of education and training that focuses entirely on orthodontics to produce much better results than general dentists.Orthodontists have a greater understanding and experience on the biology of tooth movement and how to efficiently move teeth without causing other issues that may result from a lack of education and training. For best results in the movement of teeth, it is best to let a specialist handle the case.

Orthodontics Treatments Include:

  • Overbite: This is often called “buck teeth.” This is where the upper front teeth lie too far forward over the lower teeth making the front teeth the most prominent feature of your smile.
  • Underbite: This is like a “bulldog” appearance where the lower teeth are too far forward allowing your bottom teeth to overlap the top teeth.
  • Crossbite: This is a lateral misalignment of the dental arches. It’s when the upper teeth do not align with the lower teeth when biting together normally.
  • Open bite: Is when there is a space between the biting surfaces of your teeth. It can be the front and/or side teeth when biting normally.
  • Misplaced midline: Occurs when the center of your upper front teeth does not line up with the center of your lower front teeth or with your facial midline.
  • Spacing: Occurs when there are gaps or spaces between the teeth. This may be a result of missing teeth.
  • Crowding: This occurs when there is not enough room for your teeth for the dental ridge to accommodate. Teeth often overlap and/or protrude.

How Does Orthodontic Treatment Work?

Medical devices or "appliances" are placed over or onto the teeth. A small amount of pressure is applied to the teeth through these appliances. Over time, the teeth will slowly move in correct position. An orthodontist will best know how to adjust the appliances to obtain the best possible placement without causing another issue in the jaw and neighboring teeth.

Today, a number of appliances are available. Some appliances are fixed and others are removable. Depending on the results you wish to obtain and your case will determine what kind of appliance is used for your treatment. Braces and Invisalign are the most common appliances available on the market. These devices work by placing gentle pressure on the teeth and jaw which slowly move teeth into correct position. Typical orthodontic treatment programs run longer than 12 month and may take longer depending on the severity of the problem.