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The Basics of Teeth Straightening

Dentists and Dental Procedures
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According to statistics, more than 50 percent of Americans require some form of teeth straightening in their lives, as misaligned bites, crooked teeth, and jaw problems are prevalent. Orthodontists are specialists that go through four years of dental school in addition to two to three years of specialty training in the field of orthodontics, the study of treating misaligned teeth and facial development with braces, headgear, and retainers. There are several benefits of teeth straightening, such as enhancing your smile, making chewing easier, and reducing bruxism (teeth grinding). When determining whether you can benefit from teeth straightening, it can be helpful to know some of the basics of teeth straightening and how it can potentially benefit you.

How Teeth Straightening Works

Teeth straightening works by placing a series of brackets, wires, and bands on your teeth to slowly exert pressure on your teeth and reshape them in a certain way. When these materials put pressure on your teeth, it causes the bony socket (which serves as an anchor for your teeth) to remodel itself based on the newly acquired position. When wearing braces, it is important to remember that you cannot apply a great force to your teeth and expect to align your teeth perfectly in a few days, as this can damage them severely. Instead, braces apply small amounts of pressure over a long period (anywhere from six months to more than three years depending on the extent of the teeth straightening necessary) to obtain the desired results.

Procedure for Teeth Straightening

When you decide to get braces to straighten your teeth, you first visit an orthodontist, who takes a series of X-Rays, performs an oral exam, and takes impressions of your mouth and teeth to determine the best treatment plan for your specific situation. Next, the orthodontist places spacers—small rubber bands—between your molars to allow space for stainless steel bands that serve as anchors for the other parts of the braces. After placing bands around your molars, the orthodontist places small brackets on each of your teeth and runs a wire through each of them to straighten your teeth. Braces tend to hurt for up to a week after getting them, and it is common to experience pain each time the orthodontist tightens or changes the wires in your mouth, so you should be prepared for some discomfort as part of the process.

Teeth straightening is essential for many Americans, as it offers many benefits. Not only does teeth straightening improve your smile, but it also can fix misaligned bite issues and reduce jaw pain and headaches. For a complete diagnosis and treatment plan to fix any issues with your teeth or bite, you should contact an orthodontist.

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