A Guide to Orthodontic Issues and Treatments

The primary function of orthodontics is to straighten teeth. An orthodontist focuses on the following issues:

Misaligned teeth

The most common cases of misaligned teeth come from habits like thumb sucking, gum disease or teeth overlap. When this happens, it causes an overbite where the upper teeth protrude outwards. While they may create a crooked smile, misaligned teeth may also cause some oral issues. Due to the difficulty of cleaning crooked teeth, cavities and tooth decay are more likely to happen. Many people with misaligned teeth also have low self-esteem due to being self-conscious about their teeth.

After consulting an orthodontist for misaligned teeth, an orthodontist takes x-rays and impressions of your existing dental formula. With this impression of your teeth, an orthodontist can prescribe a course of treatment.


Orthodontics treatment depends on the type of problem present in each patient. There are different appliances that an orthodontist uses to reposition the teeth. These appliances exert pressure on the teeth and force them to move to the proper position. These appliances include the following:


Braces are the most common treatment for misaligned teeth and overbites. Braces are fixed devices consisting of brackets, wires and bands. The brackets are attached to the teeth, and a wire is passed through the brackets. The braces work through tightening the wire, which pressures the teeth to move to their correct position. The treatment time for braces depends on the age of an individual and the extent of their overbite/underbite.

Select appliances 

These are worn alone or in combination with braces. They may include retainers or space maintainers. Space maintainers are designed to keep space between teeth open before a new tooth grows. They have an acrylic base with wire branches to maintain the open space.


These are an alternative to conventional braces. They fix the bite without the use of wires or brackets. They are invisible and convenient in that they can be removed during eating and brushing.


These appliances work to reposition the jaws to a favourable position. They are suitable for young patients as their jaws are still growing.


Retainers are worn after braces to prevent teeth from falling back to their previous position. An orthodontist requires a patient to wear a retainer every night in the first few months after braces removal. People with misaligned teeth may need to wear braces at night for years to come. Retainers can also be used for children who suck their thumbs.