Orthodontics is the dentistry that is concerned with the study and treatment of malocclusions. Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that diagnoses, prevents, and treats dental and facial irregularities called malocclusions. Orthodontics includes dentofacial orthopedics, which is used to correct problems involving the growth of the jaw.
Orthodontic treatment involves the design and use of corrective appliances (such as braces, plates, headgears and functional appliances) to bring the teeth and jaws into proper alignment.
Braces are retainers, bonded brackets, arch wires and elastic bands that move crowded or spaced teeth into a “normal” position for appearance, prevention and function. Patients with poorly aligned teeth tend to have much more tooth decay, gum disease and jaw joint problems. Recently invented brackets and new techniques make orthodontic treatment faster and more comfortable than ever.
Orthodontists align teeth with braces by applying constant pressure in a desired direction. The pressure is adjusted at prescribed intervals over the course of the orthodontic treatment, which can last from one to three years or longer depending on the severity of the patient’s case. There are several types of orthodontic braces available to consumers, including the traditional metal braces and new clear braces.
Retainers: Once the teeth have been moved into proper position, a retainer is sometimes used to keep the teeth in place until they have “settled”. Retainers can be fixed (bonded to the teeth) or removable. They are usually made of acrylic, metal or a combination of both. “Tooth positioners” are a type of rubber retainer that resembles a mouthguard.
Bite Planes Also called dental splints, bite planes are acrylic and wire appliances used to correct problems such as a deep overbite, a condition in which the upper front teeth excessively overlap the lower front teeth.
Bite planes are removable for cleaning but should be worn consistently for best results.
Functional appliances are used to adjust the position of the teeth and jaws. For instance, if the lower jaw is growing more slowly than the upper jaw, a functional appliance can help adjust the balance between the two. Made of plastic and wires, these appliances are removable for cleaning but should be worn continuously.
Headgear refers to a system of straps around the head or neck that is attached to braces. It is used to speed the straightening of teeth and to guide the direction of their movement.
Dentofacial orthopedics refers to fixed or removable devices worn by growing children to balance the size of the upper and lower jaws, helping the teeth to fit together properly.
Smile Designing in Orthodontics:
The subject of the smile is related to communication and facial expression of an individual’s emotion and is of great interest to orthodontists. Most of the patients seek orthodontic care because of esthetic reasons, that is, the desire to look more attractive by improving their smile. Thus an attractive smile should be the goal at the end of orthodontic treatment. However, many people feel more comfortable and self-confident with properly aligned, attractive teeth, and orthodontic care can help improve appearance and build self-confidence.
Orthodontists are highly trained dental professionals who have devoted their practice to the diagnosis and treatment of misaligned bites and jaw disorders. Whether you are seeking orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child, there are certain characteristics you should always look for in a qualified orthodontist.