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An Introduction to Orthodontics and the Many Problems it Treats

Does the term ‘orthodontist’ bring images of teenagers with mouthfuls of metal to mind? While this is certainly not a rare sight in any orthodontics practice, the field goes far beyond straightening adolescents’ teeth!

From children to adults, jaw problems to headaches, orthodontics is a large, specialised field that diagnoses, prevents and corrects many mouth, jaw and bite problems. Here’s an introduction to what the team at The Orthodontic Hub does.

What exactly is orthodontics?

We’ll leave oral hygiene, fillings and check-ups to the dentist – your orthodontist is more concerned with the function of your jaw and the position of your teeth inside your mouth.

We are trained to detect abnormalities and prevent or treat them, giving you a beautiful smile that you can feel confident showing off. But it’s not just about aesthetics – correcting bite problems can improve your oral health, speech and even reduce pain and headaches.

Problems we frequently see

Bite issues – a perfect bite is hard to find. Orthodontists treat overbites and underbites, crossbites and open bites.

Alignment – the goal is that your lower teeth protect your tongue while upper teeth keep you from biting your lips or inner cheeks. If you’re teeth aren’t properly aligned, orthodontic treatment could help.

Spacing – we can prevent or treat teeth that are too far apart or too crowded.

Jaw pain – sore jaws are not normal, but orthodontic treatment like braces can help correct jaw issues and reduce the strain on this important joint.

The orthodontist’s treatment of choice

There are a variety of ways that an orthodontist will treat your teeth and it is a very individualised process tailored specifically to you. Treatment can include:

Braces

Probably the first thing you think of when you hear the word orthodontist, braces can be traditional metal or ceramic, or they can be almost impossible to detect (clear braces). There’s standard treatment but, for some, fast short-term braces will do the trick.

Aligners

Adults are not always keen to wear braces, so removable aligners can be used to move teeth without the aesthetic disruption of wires and brackets.

Retainers

These removable mouthguards are often used after braces or to stop thumb sucking so that teeth remain in their rightful place.

Jaw repositioning appliances

These can help guide the lower or upper jaw to close in a healthier way, correcting bite issues and relieving the painful symptoms of TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorders).

An individualised approach

Orthodontics is not a one-size-fits-all approach. If you think you or your child needs expert advice from an orthodontist in Tauranga, Mt Maunganui or Whakatane, make an appointment at The Orthodontic Hub today.

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