Orthodontics is a dental specialty that focuses on the correction of both abnormally sequenced teeth and a lack of alignment between the lower and upper jaws. Previously, orthodontists could only correct the visible front teeth, but thanks to advances in technology, problems with contact between the teeth (occlusion) and other jaw-related issues can now be solved as well. Today, orthodontic experts can even correct the position of the jawbone in the face skeleton, as well as congenital anomalies such as cleft lips or cleft palates.
Orthodontists receive extra training above and beyond that of normal dentists. In general, dentists wishing to become orthodontists must specialise in the field for four to six years after becoming a dentist and are required to submit a thesis and pass an exam before becoming fully certified.
Your dentist can provide general information as to whether orthodontic treatment is required, but only an orthodontist can provide detailed information regarding treatment, duration and cost in the event that such work is required. Orthodontists can determine whether you require orthodontic treatment, as well as its type and duration, following a comprehensive interview, a detailed oral and dental examination that includes X-rays and the creation of a jaw model, as well as a thorough inspection of your medical and dental history.
If you are affected by one of the following, then you may require orthodontic treatment:
- Overbite: Upper front teeth come down in front of the lower front teeth.
- Underbite: Upper front teeth come down behind the lower front teeth.
- Crossbite: Some lower or upper front teeth fail to align when the mouth is closed.
- Overjet: A severe overbite to the extent that the patient is sometimes unable to close his or her mouth.
- Openbite: Lower and upper front teeth fail to make contact when the mouth is closed.
- Midline shift: The midline of the upper front teeth fail to align with the midline of the lower front teeth.
- Gaps: Gaps between teeth due to tooth extraction or for natural reasons.
- Crooked teeth: Teeth that become crooked due to an excess of in-grown teeth in the jaw.
- Harmful habits: Habits such as thumb-sucking, improper swallowing, tongue-pushing, pen-biting, and nail-eating that negatively affect the development of teeth and the jaw.
Adults, youth and children can all benefit from orthodontic treatment.
Colloquially known as braces, brackets refer to an attachment that is secured to a tooth to hold an archwire. A wide variety of brackets are produced, but metal or porcelain brackets are most common.
Metal brackets can also be coloured using small pieces of rubber that can be removed if desired.
Porcelain brackets are especially popular among young and adult patients who wish their brackets to be less visible and among patients whose problems are not extreme.
Fitting of Brackets:
After brackets are attached to the teeth, wires are passed through the brackets to apply force on the teeth, which ultimately brings them into the proper alignment. Such treatment may continue for a few months or a few years, although orthodontists can make adjustments each month as required. Today, brackets are lighter and contain less metal
Fixed Applications Include the Following:
Special Fixed Applications:
Apparatuses to break the habit of thumb-sucking are affixed to the teeth using tape, but such devices are often installed as a final option because they cause discomfort during eating.
Fixed Space Maintainers:
In the event that baby teeth are lost earlier than normal, space maintainers are used to prevent other teeth from occupying the space until permanent teeth grow in.
Aligners (Treatment without Brackets):
An alternative to fixed treatments with brackets for adults, aligners are used by many orthodontists to align the teeth as they do not require bracket or dentures. Aligners are generally transparent and are removed before users eat, floss or brush their teeth. Though popular among patients due to their ease of use, aligners might be ineffective for severe orthodontic problems. Your orthodontist is best-placed to determine whether aligners are right for you.
Removable Space Maintainers:
Functioning in the same way as fixed space maintainers, removable space maintainers feature an acrylic base fitted to the jaw that fills the space between specific teeth with plastic or wires.
Splits are affixed to the upper or lower jaw to help the jaw close in a better position. Splints can also be used to rectify temporomandibular joint disorder.
Lip and Cheek Bumpers:
Bumpers push the teeth backwards to prevent lips and cheeks from coming between the teeth.
Made of a special acrylic and fitted to the palate, jaw expanders work to expand either the upper or lower jaw. By virtue of the force applied by the screws of the apparatus, the jaw bones below the teeth and the palate can grow and expand.
Removable reinforcements maintain the position of the teeth and prevent them from reverting to their previous position after normal treatment is completed.
Headgear is attached to the upper molar teeth with tape and a metal wire that is placed behind the head. The apparatus helps to slow down the development of the upper jaw and enables the front teeth to move backwards while keeping the back teeth in position. Such devices are generally worn in the evening or at night.
Which Treatment is Applied When?
People of all ages can benefit from treatment if they only suffer from teeth problems, as opposed to larger issues related to jaw alignment. Jaw-related problems, however, are best treated during development. Orthodontists can determine the stage of a patient’s growth and development by means of “cephalometric,” or wrist, X-rays, since a patient’s bone age and chronological age do not always correspond with each other. Even in the event that active growth and development have finished in a patient, severe jaw-skeletal problems can be treated by a combination of orthodontic and surgical treatment known as orognathic surgery.
Types of Orthodontics
- Protective Orthodontics: The primary duty of an orthodontist is to prevent the emergence of orthodontic anomalies in children. Ensuring that the spaces of extracted baby teeth remain open is critical to ensuring the proper sequencing of permanent teeth in the future.
- Suspensive Orthodontics: If orthodontic problems have not been prevented in children, they can be rectified and prevented from occurring once more with suspensive orthodontic techniques. Such treatment can include extractions to halt bad habits (e.g. thumb-sucking) and prevent the future emergence of crooked teeth.
- Therapeutic Orthodontics: Therapy may be ordered by an orthodontist after the appearance of an orthodontic anomaly.
Goals of Orthodontic Treatment
- To ensure good chewing, speaking and breathing;
- To provide patients with the best-looking teeth, jaw and face possible;
- To prevent problems that can treated with orthodontic techniques from recurring.
The Next Step
The next step is to arrange a free private consultation with one of the DENTAGLOBAL associated clinics and offices in Paris, London, Rotterdam or our own facility in Izmir. You can also get a quote by filling in the detailed form on our website. We would be happy to chat with you on the phone and answer any questions you may have.
We look forward to hearing from you.