Last updated date: 26-Sep-2022
7 mins read
Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of crooked teeth and jaws, as well as incorrect bite patterns. The goal of orthodontic treatment is to achieve a healthy bite. This consists of straight teeth meeting the opposing teeth in the opposite jaw properly. Biting, chewing, and speaking is thus made easier with a good bite.
Therefore, correction may be necessary if your teeth are protrusive, crowded, spaced much far apart, meet abnormally, or don’t meet at all. Orthodontic treatment may be cosmetic, aiming at enhancing the appearance of a person. It can also help improve general oral function.
Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment
An orthodontist can perform the orthodontic treatment to accomplish the following goals:
- Bridging large gaps between teeth
- Alignment of the teeth's tips
- Crooked teeth straightening
- Enhancing one's capacity to speak or chew
- Improving the gums' and teeth's long-term health
- Preventing long-term severe tooth wear or trauma
- Repairing a faulty bite
Treatment not only improves the teeth' appearance but can also improve chewing and speech capacity. In other cases, it helps preserve teeth from injury, damage, or decay. The orthodontist usually uses a variety of medical dental equipment, like headgear, braces, and plates, to achieve these objectives.
Types of Orthodontics Devices
Orthodontics devices can include;
Fixed devices are typically the most prevalent orthodontic appliances. Dentists often recommend them when accuracy is crucial. With fixed appliances, one can feed normally. However, certain foods and drinks must be avoided, including carbonated beverages, gum, hard candy, and particular sticky foodstuffs.
If you take part in contact sports, you should inform your orthodontist since you may require special gum shields.
The following are some examples of fixed orthodontic devices;
Brackets, bands, and wires are examples of braces. Orthodontics brackets are normally attached to the front of the teeth. On the other hand, bands are secured firmly around the teeth, functioning as anchors for the device.
Arch-shaped wires go through the brackets and are secured to the bands. Tension is imparted to the teeth since the arch wire is tightened. This gradually shifts them into the appropriate position.
Monthly follow-up visits are necessary to adjust and tighten the braces. This treatment can generally last anything from a few months to several years. Luckily, there are clear and colored orthodontics braces to choose from.
- Fixed-space maintainers
When a child lost one of the baby's teeth, the dentist can use a space maintainer to prevent the teeth on both sides of the gap from sliding into the space till the adult tooth emerges. A band is attached to one of the teeth adjacent to the gap, while a wire connects it to the other tooth.
- Specialized fixed appliances
These can aid in the management of tongue thrusting and thumb sucking. Because they can be uncomfortable, particularly when feeding, they are used when necessary.
- Removable space maintainers
A removable space maintainer can be used instead of fixed-space maintainers.
Removable orthodontics devices:
These can be used in addressing small issues like thumb sucking prevention or slightly crooked teeth correction. When cleaning, eating, or flossing, the appliance should be removed. During some activities, like cycling, the orthodontist may ask the patient to take them out.
The following are some examples of removable orthodontic devices:
- Aligners: Adults may benefit from aligners as an alternative to braces. They are practically undetectable to others, and are easily removable when brushing, flossing, or eating. Usually, the aligner is worn for two to three weeks before being replaced with a tighter one.
- The palatal expander: This is a device that is used to widen the upper jaw arch. It is made up of a screwed-on plastic plate that is put on the palate (mouth’s roof). The screws apply pressure to the bones' joints, pushing them outward. The region in the mouth roof expands as a result of this.
- Headgear: This consists of a strap on the back of the head that is connected to a metal wire at the front part (a face bow). The goal is to hold the back teeth in place as the front teeth pull back, slowing down upper jaw growth.
- Lip and cheek bumpers: They are specially designed to ease pressure from the cheeks or lips on the teeth.
- Retainers: After treatment, retainers are worn to keep the teeth from reverting to their previous positions. They can also be used to prevent the child from sucking the thumbs if they are changed.
Candidates for Orthodontics Treatment
Malocclusion can occur if the teeth and the jaws fail to develop appropriately. Teeth that are crooked or misaligned, as well as the lower and upper teeth sets, might not line up.
Malocclusion is not, however, a disease, as it has no physical impact. It's a change in the location of the teeth. It may, still, alter the contour of the face as well as the teeth' appearance, causing embarrassment, lack of self-confidence, and even despair.
Teeth or facial bones injury, as well as regular thumb or finger sucking, are among the causes. Serious cases of malocclusion can impair speech, feeding, and maintaining clean teeth.
You may thus require orthodontics treatment if you have any of the following dental conditions;
- Asymmetrical teeth: When you close your mouth, but the teeth are still visible, its means that the upper and lower teeth don’t match. Orthodontics treatment can thus help correct asymmetrical teeth.
- Crossbite: When the teeth clench, at least one of the top teeth doesn’t come down a little in front of the lower teeth. Instead, they are too close to the tongue or the cheek.
- Crowding: There might not be sufficient room for all of the teeth in a narrow jaw. To make some space for the others, the orthodontist can recommend removing one or more teeth.
- Impacted teeth: This might occur if an adult tooth fails or just partially erupts from the gum or bone.
- Open bite: An opening occurs between the upper and lower teeth if the teeth clench.
- Overbite or deep bite: If the teeth clench, then the top ones tend to come down much further over the lower ones, resulting in a deep bite.
- Protrusion of the front teeth: Orthodontics treatment can help enhance the appearance of protruding front teeth while also protecting them from damage or injury in sports accidents or even falls.
- Reverse bite: The upper teeth bite within the lower teeth, resulting in a reverse bite whenever the teeth clench.
- Spacing: Spaces or gaps between teeth occur when a tooth is absent or when the teeth don’t fill the mouth (opposite of crowding).
- Underbite: This occurs when the upper teeth are positioned too far back or if the lower teeth are positioned too far forward.
In addition, the orthodontist can assist with issues like teeth grinding or clenching, as well as jaw clicking or movement. The teeth and the supporting bone can get misshapen as a result of thumb or finger sucking. Hence, he or she can suggest an orthodontics approach.
Normally, orthodontics treatment is initiated when the majority of a child's adult teeth have emerged. This mostly happens when they are around 12 years old. However, it is based on the number of adult teeth that have emerged and how their face and jaws have developed.
Adults can start orthodontics treatment at any age, although the treatment choices are relatively limited. Because orthodontics treatment could increase the chances of tooth decay or other gum disorders, treatment won’t start unless you have a better oral hygiene standard.
The orthodontist will first examine the patient's teeth and determine how they will develop if not treated. The following will be included in the evaluation:
- Obtaining a complete medical and dental history
- Performing a clinical evaluation
- Taking x-rays of both the teeth and jaw
- Constructing tooth models out of plaster
After that, the orthodontist will then advise a suitable treatment strategy.
Aftercare Following Orthodontics Treatment
White spots around the teeth that are usually an early indication of tooth decay are common orthodontics complications. This may occur if plaque accumulates on the teeth or the brace, causing acid to form.
Generally, cleaning the teeth as well as the brace takes time. Nonetheless, it is necessary in order to avoid leaving permanent spots on the teeth after the removal of the brace. Because it is difficult for most people with devices to maintain their teeth and gums clean, extra brushing is required during treatment.
To lower your risk of tooth decay, the orthodontist can suggest using toothpaste that has a high fluoride content or mouthwash containing fluoride. Sugary foods and carbonated beverages should also be avoided.
Although some people have perfectly aligned teeth, most have crooked teeth that do not fit together properly. Your bite can thus be affected by these crooked teeth. Fortunately, you can easily straighten the teeth and even repair your bite with the right orthodontics treatment.
When it comes to orthodontics treatment, there is a lot you need to consider. However, the orthodontics nearby will help you choose a suitable treatment plan depending on your dental problem and objective.