People often talk about the importance of dentistry and dental health, but what is often forgotten is the impact of orthodontic services. When a dentist sees that you have an overbite, they will give you a referral to an orthodontist for you to see what an orthodontist can do for you and your smile.
While dentists focus on dental care like cavities and gum diseases, orthodontists concentrate on the relationship between teeth and the jaw according to the British Orthodontic Society. They commonly rectify problems such as alignment and overbites.
Most commonly, orthodontia is done on children while their teeth and jaws are rapidly growing because it’s easiest to make an impactful change without dental surgery at this stage. Orthodontists use a variety of appliances to help improve your smile:
A bionator is a functional, removable orthodontic appliance that is used commonly in people 7 years old or older. This appliance is primarily used to stimulate the growth of the lower jaw to correct an over-bite or over-jet.
Because of this, the appliance is most effective when the user experiences maximum growth – which is it’s mostly used in kids. There are two main bionators; bionators that open a bite, and ones that close a bite.
Bionators are available in a variety of colours and shades; actually, they can come in both sparkly and glow in the dark designs! Many orthodontists prefer to use this appliance to correct overbites over headgears, as headgears are more painful and can strain jaw points if misused.
To be effective, bionators must be worn at all times and only removed while eating or brushing teeth.
An expander is an orthodontic appliance that expands your jaw. This is an appliance with the power to help give you a beautiful smile thanks to its ability to correct overbites.
There a variety of expanders that work towards the same goals, but in different ways:
Palatal Expander: This expander is most used to widen the roof of your mouth to create space for crowded teeth and to rectify crossbites. It’s attached to the molars with metal rings where expansion screws are built. The expansion is activated by turning the key to tighten the appliance.
This appliance is usually by younger children because once skeletal maturity is reached the upper jaw is fused. This makes it challenging to achieve expansion without invasive surgery.
Quad Helix: Like a palatal expander, the quad helix is a fixed expander placed at the roof of your mouth for the upper jaw. It widens the upper arch to rectify a crossbite or make room for crowded teeth.
The main difference here is that the quad helix is cemented to the molars; additionally, it doesn’t require a key for activation. Instead, springs are used to widen the arch. It also is used to help straighten teeth.
Schwartz Appliance: This removable expander can be worn on your upper or lower teeth to widen your arch and teeth. This is to be used 24 hours a day and is only taken out for physical activity like sports, teeth brushing or eating. Like the palatal expander, a key is used to activate expansion.
Braces are an orthodontic appliance used to correct and straighten teeth. This is often used when teeth or crooked, overcrowded, or have gaps that need to be closed.
A recent advancement in braces technology is Invisalign, which can do much more than conventional braces. The Invisalign system utilizes plastic aligners; one aligned is worn for two weeks to reach the desired state, and the patient then moves on to another tighter fitting aligner to achieve the next necessary stage.