Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry treating the mal-positioned teeth and jaws, and misaligned bite patterns. At an early stage it helps the prevention and diagnosis of future problems that can occur from mal-positioned teeth.
The treatment can be done for cosmetic reasons to improve the appearance of the person, however, generally aims to improve mouth function.
Orthodontic Treatment types
An orthodontist may carry out operations that aim to achieve the following:
– To close diastema between the teeth,
– To line up tooth tips,
– To adjust crooked teeth,
– To improve speaking and chewing abilities,
– To increase long term health of the gum and teeth,
– To prevent long term tooth wear or trauma,
– Incorrect biting patterns
The treatment may heal the appearance of the teeth, however, may also lead to better chewing and speaking function and in some cases, it may also protect the teeth against the damage or tooth cavity.
In order to achieve these goals, the orthodontist uses a range of medical appliances including tooth cap, plates and dental braces.
The orthodontic appliances may be fixed or detachable.
They are most frequently used appliances in orthodontics. They are used when the tooth sensitivity is important.
The person may eat normally with a fixed appliance, however certain foods and beverages such as fizzy drinks, barley candy, chewing gum and sticky foods must be avoided.
Since the people who participate in contact sports need special gum protection, they must tell their orthodontist.
The examples of the fixed orthodontic appliances include:
These are consisting of the brackets, dental braces and bands. The bands are fixed around the teeth and while acting as anchor for the appliance, the brackets are usually attached to the front of the teeth.
The arch-shaped braces are fixed to the bands by passing through the brackets. The brace is tightened and the tension is applied to the teeth. In the course of time, this moves the teeth to the appropriate position.
The treatment includes monthly visits to adjust or tight the dental braces. The treatment may last from several months to several years.
Both transparent and coloured dental braces are available.ca
When a child loses a baby tooth prematurely, the space maintainer will stop the other teeth from getting into empty space until the adult tooth emerges. The band is attached to one of the teeth next to the cavity and the brace goes from the band to another tooth.
These are alternative to the fixed area protectors.
Special fixed appliances
These may help to control the tongue thrust or finger sucking. They may be uncomfortable especially when eating and therefore, they are used only when it is necessary.
Detachable orthodontic appliances
These may be used in order to treat minor problems such as preventing of finger sucking or adjusting of the slightly crooked teeth.
The appliance must only be removed while cleaning, eating or using dental floss. Occasionally, the orthodontist may advise the patient to remove them during certain activities such as playing a wind instrument or biking.
The detachable device examples include:
Aligners: The alternative to the dental braces may be beneficial for adults. They are hard to see by other people and may be removed to brush the teeth, to use dental floss or eating. An aligner is used for 2 or 3 weeks and then replaced with a tighter one.
Cap: A strap on the back of the head is attached to the metal brace or facebow on the front. The purpose of it is to slow down the upper jaw and to hold the cheek teeth when the front teeth are retracted.
Lip and cheek pads: They are specially made in order to reduce pressure of cheeks or lips on the teeth.
Palate expander: This device has been designed in order to expand the upper jaw arch. It consists of a screwed plastic plate placed on the palate or roof of the mouth. The screws force the joints on the bones outwards by applying the pressure on them. This expands the size of the area in the upper part of the mouth.
Retainers: They are used in order to stop returning of the teeth to their original position after the treatment. They may also be used in order to prevent finger sucking of the kids.
There are two types of detachable retainers:
Hawley retainer is made of metal and acrylic. The acrylic one sits on the roof of the mouth and the brace surrounds the front teeth.
Other one is made of the transparent plastic. It sits on the teeth and is similar to Invisalign aligner.
The permanent retainers are bonded to the back of the teeth. Due to high risk of returning back to their ex positions; they are suggested generally for lower front teeth.
In some cases, the orthodontists suggest a fixed permanent on the lower front teeth and then a transparent plastic aligner type that will sit over the entire lower arc.
Splints or jaw repositioning devices.
These are placed on the upper or lower jaw and help the jaw close properly. The splints are used commonly for temporomandibular joint disorders (TME). TME is a situation that may cause pain and malfunction on the muscles included in jaw movement.
Regardless of your device or treatment, it is important following up on instructions of your health specialist and taking care of your mouth hygiene to get the best results.
Who must see an orthodontist?
If the jaws and teeth do not develop properly, mal-positioned teeth may occur. The teeth will be crooked and unaligned and the upper and lower teeth may not be in alignment.
The malocclusion is not a disease and does not affect the physical health. It is a change in the position of the teeth. In addition, it can have psychological effects, it may cause shyness, lack of self-confidence and even depression by affecting the shape of the face and the appearance of the teeth.
The injury to the teeth or face bones as well as frequently thumb or finger sucking are among the reasons.
The severe malocclusion may affect eating, speaking and keeping the teeth clean.
Orthodontics may help the treatment or improvement of the followings:
Protruded front teeth: The treatment may heal the appearance and may protect the teeth during the sport injuries and fallings.
Crowding: There may not be enough room for all teeth in a narrow jaw. The orthodontist may pull out one or more teeth in order to open a place for others.
Impacted tooth: This may be not cutting of the adult teeth from the gum or bone or only cutting of partially.
Asymmetrical teeth: Especially when the mouth is closed but the teeth are visible, the upper and lower teeth do not match.
Deep or excessive biting: When the teeth are clenched, the upper parts come down too much than the lower parts.
Reverse biting: When the teeth are clenched, the upper teeth bite inside of the lower teeth.
Open bite: When the teeth are clenched, an gap is formed between the upper and lower teeth.
Underbite: The upper teeth are too much behind or the lower teeth are too much front.
Cross bite: When the teeth are clenched, at least one of the upper teeth does not come down slightly in front of the lower teeth. They are very close to the cheek or tongue.
Diastema: Since there is missing teeth or the teeth do not fill the mouth, there are gap or gaps among the teeth. This is opposite of the crowding.
An orthodontist may also help solving of the problems such as grinding or clenching of the teeth and tapping or moving of the jaw.
The thumb or finger sucking may cause to make formless of the teeth and supportive bone. In order to see a natural healing, first of all, there must be a habit of finger sucking.
Your dentist may suggest you to an orthodontist or can do this work by themselves. A couple of dentists are also trained and qualified as orthodontists. According to AAO, only 6 percent of dentists are also orthodontist.
A dentist has specialized in the broader field of oral health including the prevention of infection and dealing with the teeth, jaw, nerves and other aspects.
An orthodontist deals with especially biting and straightness of the teeth. Before continuation, you must control whether your specialist is appropriate to undertake orthodontic treatment or not.