Orthodontic treatment is used to correct a condition known as malocclusion, which involves teeth that are crowded or crooked. In some cases, the upper and lower jaws may not meet properly, and although the teeth may appear straight, the individual may have an uneven bite.
Protruding, crowded or irregularly spaced teeth and jaw problems may be inherited. Thumb sucking, losing teeth prematurely and accidents also can lead to these conditions.
Correcting the problem can create a nice-looking smile, but more importantly, orthodontic treatment results in a healthier mouth. Crooked and crowded teeth make cleaning the mouth difficult, which can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and possibly tooth loss. An improper bite can interfere with chewing, speaking and can cause abnormal wear to tooth enamel. This can also lead to problems with the jaws.
Advances in technology have vastly improved appearance issues with orthodontics. Braces today are made from extremely lightweight and natural-colored materials. They are bonded to the surfaces of teeth and later removed. You can expect to wear braces for one to two years.