What is orthodontics?  It’s a big word, but what does it really mean?  Orthodontics is one of many different dental specialties. The word “orthodontics” is derived from the Greek word orthos, meaning proper or straight and the word odons meaning teeth; Therefore… “straight teeth”! Orthodontics is concerned with diagnosing and treating tooth misalignment and jaw irregularities. At first, orthodontic treatments were geared toward only the treatment of teenagers with the traditional braces; However, today, the use of orthodontics can start around the age of 7-9 years old because many children need skeletal correction that can only be done before they reach puberty. Examples of orthodontic appliances used to treat skeletal corrections are the upper expander, facemask, headgear and Herbst appliance. With the popularity of Invisalign Clear Aligner treatment, many orthodontic patients today are adults too! So, orthodontics has expanded a lot in the last thirty plus years.  

Many people want straight teeth at all ages. So, what is orthodontics and how can it help you?  There are several advantages to straight teeth, including ease of brushing and flossing, better breath, better oral hygiene, and a gorgeous smile which boosts overall confidence. Afterall, your smile is the first thing people see! Also, if your bite is off, correcting your bite will allow your teeth to wear properly and make it easier to chew food too! Though orthodontic treatment can be effective at any age, the American Dental Association suggests that an orthodontic assessment should be performed around the age of seven to eight years old. The earlier orthodontic treatment begins, the more effective it will be and the quicker any severe problems can be rectified. 

What is orthodontics and what can it correct? There are many reasons to receive orthodontic treatment, but one of the most important reasons is to correct a persons’ bite. This is important because as you age, an improper bite can lead to your teeth wearing down a lot faster, making it more difficult for you to chew.  Orthodontics can also straighten crooked teeth, which is really important for oral hygiene because you are then able to clean in between your teeth more easily without missing any important spots. Straight teeth are definitely easier to keep clean. Orthodontics can also close any gaps between teeth. Many people have a gap between their two front teeth which is called a diastema. A lot of times, people feel self-conscious about the gaps in between their teeth and therefore do not smile as often. So, correcting gaps can really boost a person’s self-confidence while giving them the Hollywood Smile they deserve! 

Let’s talk more in depth about what is orthodontics as it relates to skeletal corrections. Remember that skeletal corrections can only be made before a patient reaches puberty, which is why it is important to bring your child in to Smiles Hollywood Orthodontics for the complimentary exam around the age of 8 years old. This is because a child’s bones are still forming at this age and are still very pliable before they reach puberty therefore proper skeletal corrections can be made without severe treatment options or aggressive surgeries. Plus, young patients barely feel any discomfort or pain while tissues are being moved because their bones are so adaptable, which means a win-win for everyone!  Examples of appliances that are used during the early growth period are expanders, headgears, Herbsts, and facemasks. Expanders easily move the two upper bones of the maxilla gently apart forming a larger upper jaw that can accommodate more teeth and give the patient a beautiful, wider smile! Headgears are an appliance that holds back on the upper jaw which allows the lower jaw to grow forward and catch up to improve an overbite. Herbst appliances, like headgear, aid in helping the lower jaw to grow forward, also decreasing overbites and improving facial profiles. Facemasks do just the opposite of headgear and Herbst appliances by moving the upper jaw forward to catch up with a lower jaw that has grown too far forward.   

Early orthodontic treatment on patients often is misunderstood by parents and sometimes even general dentists. This is why it is so important for you to know the answer to the question “What is orthodontics?” Many patients think orthodontics should start when all the permanent teeth have come into the mouth. But this is far from the truth! The American Association of Orthodontists recommend that all children should be seen between the ages of 7-8 years old. The reason is because early orthodontic treatment can redirect growth of bones and keep your child out of the operating room! By using appliances like expanders, headgears, Herbsts and facemasks, incredible results can be achieved with less aggressive treatment. Many general dentists do not realize the disservice they are doing for their patients when they tell them not to visit the orthodontist until all the permanent teeth come in! Plus, at Smiles Hollywood Orthodontics, the initial visit is FREE so please bring your child in early by age 8 if possible!  

Many adults are now doing orthodontic treatment for themselves. What is orthodontics and how can it help adults?  About twenty-five percent of our patients at Smiles Hollywood Orthodontics are adults. Many adults never had the privilege of having any orthodontic treatment as a teenager and are finally getting the beautiful Hollywood Smile they deserve!  We would love for you to schedule a FREE exam with us. An adult has many orthodontic options including traditional metal braces, clear braces, or Clear Invisalign Active Aligner treatment. Clear Invisalign Active Aligners are a definite favorite with adults! At Smiles Hollywood Orthodontics, we are very fortunate to have our very own in-house certified lab technician who makes all our Clear Invisalign Active Aligner trays right here in our office! She has been with Smiles Hollywood Orthodontics for many years now and is very quick and precise at making all our Clear Invisalign Active Aligners.  The best part of having her in our office is that our treatment can be less costly for you! Having an in-house lab enables us to do quick turnarounds on aligners if a patient loses an aligner or cracks one or if a patient needs it quickly for another reason. 

As you can see, orthodontics has many functions in patients of all ages! We use a very broad array of appliances to correct skeletal problems, improve patients’ bites, as well as straighten teeth. At Smiles Hollywood Orthodontics, we love making our patients’ smiles look amazing! Please call us today at 972-529-9700 to schedule your complimentary exam. We can’t wait to have you as part of our Smiles Hollywood family!