The purpose of orthodontic treatment is to improve the appearance and function of the teeth and jaw. This type of treatment is most often performed by an orthodontist, who undergoes specialty training in the field.
Improving a patient’s smile can mean different things for different people. Common problems that orthodontic treatment addresses are crooked teeth, gaps, misalignment, improper bites, and protruding teeth. Orthodontics focuses on correcting the smile so that it is aesthetically pleasing as well as functional without any pain or other issues. Along with these corrections comes improved self-esteem for the patient.
Orthodontic treatment reaches over a wide variety of age ranges. Although many people may associate braces with adolescence, that is no longer true. It has become increasingly popular for adults to seek orthodontic care, especially as technology improvements have made some methods nearly invisible. In some cases, orthodontists wait until permanent teeth have erupted but that is not always true. Early intervention in younger children may be the best approach. Patients should not let age be a barrier for improving their smiles.
A consultation with an orthodontist is the first step in treatment. This provides an opportunity for the patient to express what they may dislike about their smile, and the orthodontist will do a thorough examination. X-rays will usually be taken to help in diagnosing any issues. A treatment plan will be created for the patient and orthodontist to discuss and agree upon before any work begins. Then, braces or other appliances will be attached so that the process can get underway. Regular checkups will be necessary to monitor treatment and make adjustments throughout the process.