Orthodontics is one of the major branches of dentistry field that deals with the alignment of teeth, treating crooked and irregular teeth. Orthodontics treats malocclusion and discrepancies in both jaws and teeth by providing the suited appliances in the right time.
How can orthodontics make our face beautiful?
By a quick look at before and after orthodontic photos of those people who have experienced treatment in orthodontics, you can definitely recognize the difference that orthodontics can bring about.
If your smile and face symmetry have been affected because of the misalignment in your teeth and irregularities in jaws and lips, orthodontics is there to make you look better. You can enjoy the results of your orthodontic treatment after completing the required period of treatment.
What is going to happen at the first visit of orthodontics?
Certainly, your dentist or general practitioner examine for any sign of irregularities in teeth and dental problem. If the dental problem requires an orthodontist, they send you to an orthodontist.
Orthodontists examine your radiographic images of your teeth. With new technological devices, an orthodontist can give you the before and after treatment images of your face. They will explain to you the type of treatment appliance that you have to wear during your treatment, the time of treatment and the necessary actions that you have to undergo before starting your treatment including cleaning the teeth by bleaching or dental prophylaxis or any other tips on oral hygiene activities while you are wearing the orthodontic appliance.
Types of orthodontics
Orthodontics in terms of appliances can be categorized under two main types:
- Fixed orthodontics
- Removable orthodontics
What is fixed orthodontics?
Fixed orthodontics or fixed appliances is the orthodontic type for treating serious misalignment in teeth and jaws, which uses appliances that are installed or fixed in the mouth and you should wear them all the time.
Common fixed orthodontic appliances:
- Braces: braces are the main orthodontic devices in dentistry. Braces are made of stainless steel or titanium if there is allergy problem to metal. Orthodontists use bracket systems and wire, which are fixed on the teeth. Braces come in different forms of designs and color that can satisfy your preference. For example, most adults may feel embarrassed by wearing braces but with ceramic and plastic brackets, their discomfort about braces may disappear. Keep in mind that ceramic and plastic braces are not as strong as metal braces and breakage is a downside about these braces unless they are improved and orthodontists can recommend you to use them or not based on the treatment type and physical condition of your teeth.
- Lingual braces: this type of brace is fixed in the back of the teeth (lingual surface of the teeth). Because of that, lingual braces are an option of choice for those people who don’t want their braces to be seen. Lingual braces are difficult orthodontic devices for orthodontists and cause tongue irritation.
- Temporary anchorage devices (TADs): sometimes orthodontists use screws or miniplates along with braces as anchor to apply forces to move teeth and jaws in the right direction. Screws are inserted in the palate of the mouth and elastics or wires are attached to these screws to achieve movement process of the orthodontics. Miniplates need surgical procedure because they are surgically placed in the bone of the jaw and are used as an anchor to move teeth and upper or lower jaws.
What is removable orthodontics?
Removable orthodontics is commonly associated with the common names like Invisalign or clear aligner and is the orthodontic treatment that you can remove the appliance in your mouth whenever you need to remove them while you are eating or brushing your teeth.
Common removable orthodontic appliances:
- Aligners: clear aligners or Invisalign are popular removable appliances that originally used as just retainers in orthodontics. People use aligners because of invisibility and tooth-colored designs. Aligners are mainly used for minor tooth movements, but orthodontists can sometimes recommend them for complex orthodontic problems due to new technological advances in aligner fabrication.
- Acrylic devices with springs: these are common orthodontic appliances in treating mild tooth movements in children.
There are other important types of orthodontic devices that can be removable or fixed like:
- Space maintainers: space maintainers hold an empty space as in unerupted teeth in children or missing teeth to make eruption possible or make a dental implant possible later.
- Palatal expander: these are devices that are used to expand the dental arch and palatal area of the mouth. Palatal expanders widen the palate and are useful to treat crowded teeth and lengthen the roof of the mouth. The different types of palatal expanders include fixed palatal expanders (using jackscrew) as in Hyrax expander, removable palatal expander plate with a jackscrew and w-arch or quad helix appliances that are orthodontic expander devices to widen palate in the upper jaw.
- Retainers: retainers are essential appliances in orthodontics. Retainers are used after orthodontic appliances are removed. Retainers keep teeth in their position and will not allow for teeth to move back.
We should not forget the important orthodontic appliances that are called functional appliances.
What are functional orthodontic appliances?
Functional appliances can be categorized under fixed, removable or even both because of changes in designs is some of these devices. Functional appliances are designed in a way to use muscles and soft tissues to cause skeletal changes and modify jaw growth. Tooth and jaw movement will occur after these muscle and soft tissue pressures. Functional appliances are mainly used in adolescence age to treat dental and jaw problems.
Common functional orthodontic appliances:
- Twin block
What does orthodontics do to teeth and jaws?
Orthodontics is really interesting field in dentistry since by orthodontics our face can change a lot into a better and desirable look that we were expecting before the treatment.
Orthodontics can do the following treatments:
- Orthodontics can improve face and make you look better
- By orthodontics, your chewing and eating will improve
- You can easily brush and floss your teeth
- Your speaking will change
- Your social relationship will improve because of higher self-esteem and self-confidence and changes in your appearance
What orthodontic does is that it uses a set of appliance to force our teeth or jaws to move into the position that provide better occlusion for teeth and jaws. Through orthodontics, the face transforms into a symmetrical and ideal look because in orthodontics millimeters of tooth or jaw movement forward or backward or in the desired direction can tell a lot about how we have changed in our appearance.
How should you know if you need orthodontics?
Orthodontist can plan your orthodontic treatment with the appropriate appliance, time and necessary tips to do. If you have one of the following problems, you should visit an orthodontist to get the necessary treatment:
- Diastema: diastema or gaps between the teeth can be closed with orthodontics
- Space management: when a child loses a primary teeth, if it takes time for the permanent teeth to erupt, they need orthodontics to let that space open for the eruption of the permanent teeth
- Crowded teeth: If there are a lot of teeth in the dental arch, it causes eruption and alignment problems, which requires orthodontics.
- Deep bite: when your upper teeth overlap lower teeth in your normal closure of teeth
- Cross bite: if upper teeth go behind the lower teeth when closing teeth in the normal position of your mouth.
- Open bite: there is an opening between upper and lower teeth if you bite down
- Impacted teeth: when a tooth makes pressures on other teeth and causes irregularities and alignment problems
- Habit breaking: in children who do not want to stop thumb sucking or pacifier, an orthodontic appliance can be fixed in the mouth. This should be the last option for breaking children’s sucking habit.
At the end, it is the orthodontists’ job to say whether you really need orthodontics or maybe going for other choices like dental surgery or implant to fix the problem.