Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that deals with the irregularities or mal-positioned of teeth and their correction by various means like braces, headgear or jaw surgery, etc. this treatment is provided by an orthodontist. It includes diagnosis, prevention, or correction of teeth or jaws. Orthodontics, if include modification of facial growth then it is known as Dentofacial Orthopedics. According to research, there are nearly 50% population having abnormality of teeth or jaws. Treatment can take several months or years to give proper shape to teeth or jaws. Appliances use for treatment is so costly or used to give the position to teeth or jaws.
To develop skills and knowledge regarding treatment special orthodontics courses are there for clinical training like a three-year MSc orthodontics course. There is also an orthodontic diploma that has been designed to develop academic and clinical elements. Academic and clinical excellence in orthodontics (ACE) is a part-time postgraduate orthodontic diploma. It will lead to a postgraduate diploma in orthodontics degree.
Aims of an orthodontist:
An orthodontist with postgraduate diploma orthodontics can carry out orthodontics treatment to achieve the following aims:
- Minimize or close the gap between the teeth
- Improving the speech or chewing ability of teeth
- Increasing the health of gums and teeth
- Straightening crooked teeth
- Remove cavity problem
- Place or arrange tips of teeth
- Treatment of improper bite
Orthodontic treatment can improve the appearance of the teeth and lead to better functioning of teeth like chewing and speech.
Devices used to treat the mispositionteeth:
There are several devices used to treat the position of teeth. These devices may be fixed or removable.
- Fixed devices or appliances: These are the most important or common appliances used in orthodontics. How to use the devices is told to the person in the orthodontic courses or diploma orthodontics. A person can eat but some foods and drinks need to be avoided while using fixed appliances. These are fixed appliances used for treatment –
- Braces – these include wires, brackets, and bands. Bands are fixed around the teeth while brackets are connected to the front of the teeth. Wires pass through the brackets and are used to fix the bands. As time passes this moves the teeth into proper position. The wire is tightened and teeth took proper shape. It takes several months or a year to correct the position of teeth. Orthodontic courses include the use of braces.
- Fixed space maintainers – it is used for children when a child loses a baby tooth then a space maintainer will be used to stop the teeth either side of the spaces until the adult tooth comes through.
2. Removable orthodontic appliances: it is used to treat minor problems in teeth. These appliances should be used to correct slightly crooked teeth. Some of these devices are as follow:-
- Aligners – this is an alternative to braces. This device may be used for adults. It is removable when you brushed your teeth or while eating or flossing. It changes from time to time and become tighter when time passes.
- Headgear -This is used to slow down the upper jaw growth. A strap is attached to a metal wire in the front or face bow. This is used to keep the back teeth in position when your front ones are pulled back.
- Lip and cheek bumpers – it is used to minimize the pressure of cheeks and lips on the teeth.
- Palatal expander -it is like an arch and used in the upper jaw. It consists of a plastic plate that is placed on the roof of the mouth. Screw puts the pressure on the joints or bones. This is used for expanding the size of the roof of the mouth.
- Retainer -This is used to treat the movement of teeth. It stops the teeth moving from back to their original position. It is also used for children to stop sucking of thumbs.