Unfortunately, not everyone is born with a “picture perfect” smile, but the modern dentistry can help out. Orthodontics was the first recognized specialty field within dentistry which is concerned with the study and treatment of improper bites, that may be a result of tooth irregularity, disproportionate jaw relationships, or both. For decades it has been putting smiles with beautifully aligned teeth on patients’ faces.
There is no set age when someone should visit the orthodontist, but many practitioners say a child should see an orthodontist before age 7 so any problems can be spotted early. That doesn’t mean they will get braces right away. Based on the clinical exam and analysis of X-rays and study models the orthodontist will know which problems exist and can choose the best time to start treatment. There is no age limit for orthodontic treatment, as anomalies of tooth position can be equally corrected in children and adults due to the fact that the mechanism of tooth movement is the same. The patient is initially informed about the type of therapy, its initiation and duration.
Many different types of appliances, both fixed and removable, are used to help move teeth, retrain muscles and affect the growth of the jaws. These appliances work by placing gentle pressure on the teeth and jaws. The severity of problem will determine which orthodontic approach is likely to be the most effective. Lately, more and more patients opt for computer-assisted or, simply put , ‘no braces’ orthodontics.
a) Mobile orthodontic appliances are commonly used in children and young patients, where facial development and growth can be harnessed to optimise the balance of the face when there is a mismatch between the relative size or shape of the jaws. They can be easily removed by patients for cleaning and regulation of the applied forces if necessary. There are several types of available mobile appliances, and the most commonly used ones are lip and cheek bumpers, active plates or expanders and extraoral appliances (Headgear).
b) A fixed appliance is usually the most effective way of correcting anomalies of tooth position. The most common appliances, braces, consist of bands, wires and/or brackets. Bands are fixed around the teeth or tooth and used as anchors for the appliance, while brackets are most often bonded to the front of the tooth. Arch wires are passed through the brackets and attached to the bands. Tightening the arch wire puts tension on the teeth, gradually moving them to their proper position. Today’s braces are smaller, lighter and show far less metal than in the past. They come in bright colours for children and clear styles preferred by many adults since it’s never too late to perfect your smile.
c) Smilelign/Invisalign (computer-assisted orthodontics) – one of the most modern forms of orthodontic treatment in which the position of teeth is corrected without the use of orthodontic brackets, wires or bands. Smilelign/Invisalign treats all types of malocclusion. It is virtually invisible, lightweight and comfortable to wear, and thus increasingly popular among patients. Unlike braces, aligners can be removed, making it easier to brush and floss well; that helps maintain better overall oral health.