The term orthodontics is defined in the dictionary as ‘the branch of dentistry concerned with preventing or correcting irregularities of the teeth’. At Surrey Braces, Our practice in Weybridge, orthodontics is our core business. We see many forms that these irregularities can take.One area of irregularity occurs with a patient’s ‘bite’.
In dental terminology, the bite is the alignment of the rows of teeth when they are resting against each other. If a bite is not properly aligned it can lead to all sorts of problems. It can affect chewing, which might encourage uneven wear of the teeth aswell as discomfort. People can also find their speech is impaired by a misaligned bite. Over time, bite issues can lead to general oral health problems such as gum disease and tooth loss. There are different types of bite to consider.
- Open bite. This describes the condition where the patients’ front teeth do not meet when the jaws are shut. Inevitably the back teeth will suffer excessive wear and tear compared to the front teeth, and ultimately deterioration.
- Cross bite. This is when the upper set of teeth sit either inside the bottom teeth or just outside. This makes it difficult for the patient to chew.
- This term describes a situation where the lower teeth project further forward than the upper teeth.
- This happens when secondary teeth grow in a small space within the dental arch.
- This occurs when people have teeth that are missing or particularly small teeth that leave larger than normal gaps between them.
So what happens to people who are diagnosed with a bite that is not aligned and must be corrected? The two principal appliances used in this situation are retainers and braces. Both work by applying pressure on the teeth to move them into the required position. So what’s the difference?
Braces can be either fixed or removable. Contrary to popular belief, a removable brace is not a retainer. A retainer, as its name suggests, is an appliance specifically employed to maintain the position achieved by braces once they have been removed.Many patients looking for orthodontics in Weybridge will receive braces and/or a retainer as part of their treatment.