Orthodontics is not about just having aesthetically pleasing teeth. Orthodontics will solve a host of dental problems, from making space for a tooth implant to fixing jaw alignment.
Not enough tooth?
Have you recently had a root canal? In some cases the dentist may not have had enough tooth to put a crown on. An orthodontist can solve this problem by pulling the tooth into the arch giving the dentist more tooth to work with.
Have you broken the tooth off at the bone line? Did you know by orthodontically pulling on the tooth we can create a perfect spot for an implant.
Too much tooth?
Sometimes a tooth can become super-erupted. This means the tooth has come out of the gums too far because the opposing tooth has not yet erupted or is missing, and therefore it is not in place to keep its opposite tooth in check.
Your orthodontist can help reposition the over-erupted tooth; this is called an intrusion. Your orthodontist may use a variety of methods to correct these issues.
Missing a tooth?
When replacing a missing tooth with an implant you may not have enough bone in the area to support it. Moving a tooth orthodontically can help stimulate jaw bone growth, and this will recreate sufficient bone so that your implant treatment can proceed.
Another common problem preventing implant placement is mal-aligned roots and the dentist may not have a good site place the implant. This can be solved with braces. Or maybe you would prefer to close the space left by the missing tooth with your existing teeth. Again, braces to the rescue.
Making space for new teeth
Sometimes the space created when a baby tooth falls out is just not enough room for the permanent tooth to come in. This is most commonly seen with the upper eye-teeth or canines. Braces can be used to create enough space for the adult teeth to descend into their correct place.
One of the more common problems treated by an orthodontist are jaw discrepancies and asymmetries. Maybe your upper jaw is too small? Or the lower too big? Or maybe one your jaws grew unevenly. Many treatment possibilities exist for treating these conditions using orthodontics.
It’s not just about the looks
Untreated tooth and jaw alignment issues can contribute to other problems. Overcrowded teeth can contribute to periodontal (gum and bone) problems; an unstable bite due to jaw or tooth mal-alignment can lead to joint or muscle problems.
Orthodontists commonly work with other dentists to find the best consolidated approach to your problem. And while people most often associate orthodontic treatment with teenagers, orthodontists treat all ages, from 6 years to 60, or even 70 or 80.
A simulation is worth a thousand words
3D technology and clear aligner techniques provide a clear view of the treatment objective and a visualization of work that needs to be done. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, clear aligners offer treatment mechanics as well as the restorative outcome from a legacy of thousands of treated cases. Not only alignment, but final veneers, crowns and implants can be placed in a 3D visualization in a coordinated plan to create an outcome that is clear for all to see.
Dr Reuben How graduated from the University of Otago, New Zealand with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery. He has an interest in research in investigating the limits of non surgical orthodontics.
Dr How is a practitioner of lingual orthodontics (a brace which is attached almost completely on the tongue side) and Invisalign.