What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics consists of correcting the teeth and aligning the jaw to improve a person’s smile and oral health.
Orthodontics and dental movement
The majority of orthodontic treatments are used to realign teeth by means of small metal brackets attached to the exterior of each tooth. In adults, and in children when requested, we use white ceramic brackets, which are less visible.
For treatment using brackets, the movements are controlled in an arch shape, enabling the dentist to guide the direction followed by your teeth. The arch is changed regularly according to the movements to be achieved. In some cases, for a few months, we use elastic bands connecting the upper and lower jawbones in order to move teeth horizontally or vertically.
Orthodontics and jaw growth
Sometimes in children we find that one or both of their jawbones are growing either too slowly or too quickly. To accelerate or delay said growth, children can be fitted with a removable night (known as an extraoral appliance) or fixed (bracket) brace.
This correction is only possible in children who are still at the growing stage. Jaw alignment can also be corrected in adults, but involves surgery (orthognathic or corrective jaw surgery), in addition to using brackets.
Difference between children and adults:
- In children, orthodontic treatment can affect both tooth position and jaw growth.
- In adults, jaw position can only be changed by means of surgery (orthognathic or corrective jaw surgery), although the majority of adults only require tooth alignment using brackets.