When you think about going to an orthodontist, getting braces is probably the first thing that comes to mind. However, there are other important reasons for seeing an orthodontist.
Orthodontists help to correct a person’s bite or spacing of teeth. While this often involves getting braces or other fixed appliances, an orthodontist can also provide treatment using removable devices that you can take out of the mouth. Depending on how severe your problem is, an orthodontist can decide what type of treatment makes the most sense for you.
Removable appliances include:
- Aligners: Like braces, aligners move teeth, but don’t have brackets and wires so they’re not visible in most cases. You can take them out when you brush, floss and eat.
- Splints: Also known as jaw-repositioning appliances, this device helps to treat temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders by helping the jaw to close correctly.
- Palatal expander: This device is a plastic plate that covers the roof of the mouth and widens the palate.
- Headgear: A strap goes around the back of the head and is attached to a wire in the front of the mouth. This helps to hold the back teeth in place and pull back the front teeth.
- Removable retainers: They are placed on the roof of the mouth to stop the teeth from shifting back to a prior position. In some cases, they’re also used to discourage children from sucking their thumb.
- Lip and cheek bumpers: If your cheek and lip muscles are pushing on the teeth, bumpers can help to keep them away from your teeth and relieve pressure.
- Space maintainers: This appliance helps to keep space open if you lose a baby tooth too soon and you need space until the permanent tooth comes in.
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