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A common question that we receive at Discovery Dental is “What is orthodontics?” This usually comes after we have recommended braces or another type of tooth alignment to a patient or the patient’s parents. The purpose of orthodontia is to move teeth that are crooked or do not fit together correctly into proper position. Although we can accomplish this in a variety of ways, traditional metal braces is the most common.

Why Proper Tooth Alignment is Important

Brushing and flossing crooked teeth can be difficult, which makes it much more likely that you or your child will develop cavities or gum disease. Additionally, many people choose orthodontic treatment for cosmetic purposes. Having misaligned teeth or large gaps between teeth can cause embarrassment and a reluctance to smile. Unfortunately, this can affect people both socially and professionally. It may be necessary to remove one or more teeth before starting orthodontic treatment. This ensures that the remaining teeth have enough room to shift into place with the pressure of the braces.

When is the Best Time to Get Braces?

Ideally, the best time to receive orthodontic treatment is between ages 10 and 14. While the adult teeth have erupted by this time, the mouth and head are still growing. This makes it easier to shift and straighten the teeth. However, people can receive orthodontic treatment at any age. Adults who never had the opportunity to get their teeth aligned as children are often especially interested in Invisalign® braces.

What is Invisalign®?

Invisalign® is an orthodontic treatment method that allows the patient to a wear clear plastic tray that he or she replaces with a new one approximately once every two weeks. This is an excellent option for patients who want the benefits of properly aligned teeth without having to wear metal braces more commonly associated with teenagers. The treatment time is typically shorter as well.

Which Option is Right for You?

Before Dr. Vanama recommends a specific procedure, she completes an examination of your teeth, gums, and jaw in addition to taking several x-rays. After evaluating the results, Dr. Vanama will speak to you about all of your options to straighten your teeth. Wearing a retainer may be necessary after the braces are removed or you get to your last Invisalign® tray to ensure that the re-positioning of teeth remains permanent. No matter which option you ultimately choose, good oral hygiene is essential during treatment.