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Brief introduction to orthodontics

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This short presentation is design to give you a better understanding to the basis of orthodontics.
A poorly constructed bite or malocclusion can affect your smile. Many types of malocclusions are not visible to a normal observer.
Often teeth that look straight can hide serious problems within the mouth.
Teeth with crowding, spacing or that are overlapping are more difficult to keep clean and often don’t function properly.

Next, we present the functions of your teeth:

- your four front teeth are called incisors and are used for biting into food
- the canines are use for tearing
- your back teeth are called molars and pre molars and are used for the chewing and grinding
Incisors that are unable to properly bite food can make eating frustrating. Many people become self conscious of their poor biting or chewing abilities. If the molars don’t feet together properly the job of grinding food will be transferred to the front teeth. This extra work can cause excessive wear on the front teeth and makes chewing less efficient.

Next, we will present you some examples of poor bites:

- The overjet: the upper front teeth extend beyond lower front teeth. Because they stick out, they can get easily chipped, hit and knocked out. Biting into food can also be frustrating because the upper and the front teeth don’t touch. Some patients may also experiment speech difficulty and the lips may not fully close over the teeth.
- The overbite: The upper front teeth bite too far down over the lower teeth. The lower front teeth may bite into sensitive tissue. Chewing can be difficult because the jaw cannot function normally. Also the lips don’t fit properly which can make the mouth look misshaped.
- The underbite: The lower front teeth extend over the upper front teeth. Once again, the teeth don’t touch so biting into food is difficult or impossible. The chin sticks out causing unbalanced profile view.
- The crossbite: The upper teeth are biting inside lower teeth. This position won’t allow the teeth to function properly resulting in many complications, including uneven jaw growth.
- The openbite: Top and front teeth don’t touch. This makes it difficult to bite, chew and smile. It can also cause speech problems.
- The crowding: malocclusions can be complicated by crowded teeth. Crowded teeth are difficult to keep clean. An unclean mouth is unattractive.
Your orthodontist will use braces and possible other types of orthodontic appliances to gently glide your teeth into correct position.


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