Treatment: Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontics is the correction of crowded or unevenly spaced teeth. Orthodontic treatment is usually performed on older children and adolescents while their teeth are still developing, although adults can also benefit. Casts of the teeth are taken before an orthodontic appliance, or brace, is applied either to move or straighten the teeth gradually. In some cases, it is necessary to extract one or more teeth in order to make room for others. The treatment usually takes several months or years to complete and necessitates regular visits to the orthodontist for checkups.

Removable appliances

Removable braces consist of a plastic plate, which fits into the roof of the mouth and clips into place. Springs and wires exert pressure on the teeth. To increase the amount of pressure, the brace may be connected to a headcap that is worn while sleeping.

Fixed appliances

Fixed braces consist of wires and springs carried by brackets that are fixed to the teeth with dental adhesive. These braces can exert greater pressure than removable appliances and produce more complex movements of the teeth.

Orthodontic treatment

These two photographs show a set of teeth before and after orthodontic treatment. The irregular teeth have been brought into line by the treatment.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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