Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The technical term for these problems is “malocclusion,” which means “bad bite.”
The results of orthodontic treatment can be dramatic beautiful smiles, improved dental health and an enhanced quality of life for people of all ages. Orthodontic problems must be diagnosed before treatment begins. Proper diagnosis involves careful study of photographs, x-rays, and dental impressions. Treatment typically lasts from six to thirty months, depending on age, and the severity of the orthodontic problem.
Whats the right age for Orthodontic Treatment?
All children should receive their first orthodontic evaluation by age seven. This allows early identification of potential problems. Certain orthodontic conditions are also best treated at this age. Full braces are placed after most of the permanent teeth erupt, generally age ten to twelve.
Removable appliances may be used to move selected teeth, to hold selected teeth in place, to influence growth of the jaws and to influence tooth eruption. They are often used in conjunction with fixed appliances.
Removable appliances cannot be used to treat all orthodontic problems. It takes skill and experience to recognize conditions that can be successfully treated with removable appliances.
Because the patient can easily remove the appliance, good compliance is required to achieve the desired outcome.
These appliances are glued in so children are unable to easily remove them. They are used to expand the upper jaw to allow more room for permanent teeth or to correct a crossbite.
They can also be used to hold teeth in place and save room in the mouth for proper eruption of permanent teeth.
Some fixed appliances can help children stop sucking their fingers or help retrain a tongue thrust.
How do braces work?
There are two main components of braces: brackets, which are bonded directly to the tooth and arch wires that connect the brackets. Contrary to what most people think; it is the arch wire that actually moves the teeth. The brackets serve only as “handles.” The arch wire generates a steady gentle pressure to move the teeth into their proper position.
Like moving a stick through sand, as the tooth moves, the bone gives way on one side and fills in on the other. Elastics are used to make the upper and lower teeth bite together properly.