Improving Your Dental Care

4 Orthodontic Tools For Aligned Teeth

Orthodontic treatment may be right for you if you're bothered by crooked teeth, an uneven bite, or a narrow palate. These are issues that can be corrected with the proper orthodontic treatments. Many people get braces as young teenagers, but you're never too old for orthodontic care. Learning about the tools and methods used in orthodontic practices can put you at ease and prepare you for any upcoming orthodontic appointments. Here are four tools used by orthodontists to give patients properly aligned teeth:

1. Braces

Braces are the most commonly used orthodontic tool. When a patient decides to get braces, metal brackets are attached to their teeth. These brackets serve as anchors for dental wire, which is passed through each bracket and held in place with dental rubber bands. Braces use tension in order to push and pull teeth into alignment, correcting areas of crookedness as well as overbites and underbites. People with sensitive mouths and those who wish to have a less noticeable form of braces can take advantage of ceramic braces instead. The brackets of these braces are made from highly discreet, tooth-colored ceramic material.

2. Palate Expanders

Palate expanders are less common, but they are also used in orthodontic practices. Palate expanders are often used in conjunction with braces. Their purpose is to gradually widen a person's palate over time, which can help an orthodontist remedy a bite that is too narrow. The use of palate expanders can prevent the need for tooth extractions in the case of overcrowding. Ideally, people should get palate expanders in their teen years before their mouths have finished growing, but adults can take advantage of this treatment as well.

3. Headgear

Not every orthodontic patient will require headgear, but it can be very beneficial in some cases. Orthodontic headgear is an attachment that can be used with braces. It extends outside the patient's mouth and curves along the side of their cheeks. Headgear can be used to exert more pressure on the teeth than would be possible without it. It can be used to correct severe overbites, underbites, and some jaw alignment issues.

4. Clear Aligners

Clear aligners are an alternative to traditional braces. These devices are clear plastic trays that fit over the upper and lower teeth. Clear aligners fulfill the same function as braces and should be worn at all times, except when a patient is eating or cleaning their teeth.