Orthodontics is one of several recognized specialties within dentistry. Orthodontists are dentists who are trained in aligning the teeth and jaws, including the correction of asymmetrical bite patterns. Many dentists are trained to provide some orthodontic treatment but will often refer to an orthodontic specialist when the malocclusion is quite severe.
More About Orthodontics
Orthodontists and dentists provide treatment plans for patients who require teeth straightening procedures due to malocclusion (teeth misalignment).
The teeth can become misaligned for several reasons, including accidents or injuries that impact the teeth, jaw, or face, abnormally sized teeth and jaws, or adult teeth that grow in crooked.
Other potential causes of malocclusions include:
- Habits such as thumb sucking, mouth breathing, or tongue thrusting
- The extended use of pacifiers or bottles
- Losing milk teeth (baby teeth) early, which can cause adult teeth to grow in at a slant
- Cleft lip and other oral conditions
- Conditions such as TMD (temporomandibular)
- Gum diseases that lead to loose teeth
- Poor nutrition (especially in children as the teeth develop)
- Poor dental care or dental hygiene
- Tumours in the mouth or jaw
These may lead to crooked teeth, as well as issues such as overbites (when the upper front teeth rest in front of the lower front teeth) and underbites (when the lower front teeth rest in front of the upper front teeth). Less commonly, they can also lead to open bites, cross bites, and over spaced or crowded teeth. Although many of these issues first appear in children, they may also present later in teens and adults.
In turn, malocclusions can impact a person’s quality of life, causing them pain or discomfort when chewing or biting, speech problems, and low self-esteem. Orthodontics aims to structurally and cosmetically correct the teeth and jaw to restore full function and aesthetics to the mouth, jawline, and face.
Orthodontic Treatment Options in Canada
There are several types of orthodontic treatments available in Canada. Potential treatment options for malocclusions and “bad bites” such as overbites and underbites include:
- The removal of teeth (particularly when the teeth are overcrowded)
- Jaw surgery
- Dental appliances
Two main types of dental appliances are used by orthodontists to correct malocclusions: Clear aligner therapy such as Invisalign and traditional orthodontics (braces). These may be used for cosmetic or structural reasons, or both.
Invisalign is the most advanced clear aligner system in the dental market and remains one of the foremost choices for patients who do not wish to wear braces. 3D imaging of the teeth is used to create a series of clear plastic trays that slowly reposition the teeth.
Traditional metal wired braces are the most common form of traditional orthodontics. Metal brackets adhered to the teeth are connected together with wires that need periodic tightening to slowly straighten the teeth. There are also other types of braces available, including titanium braces and lingual braces.
Find an Orthodontic Provider Near You
There are plenty of options when it comes to orthodontic treatments. The 123Dentist network of dentists and dental specialists includes a number of orthodontic clinics in Canada. Use our simple search to find an orthodontic provider near you.