Orthodontics is basically straightening (orthos) of mal-aligned teeth (dontos). Crooked or mal-aligned teeth pose a lot of teeth and gum problems which can easily be corrected by wearing braces. Mal-aligned teeth cause plaque build up which is difficult to clean on a daily basis even with flossing and brushing. This causes gum inflammation and subsequent bleeding from the gums. The gums recede with time as well. Hence correcting tooth alignment is really important for oral hygiene maintenance and as well for a beautiful smile.
Problem in the skeletal alignment of the jaws (maxilla and mandible) which can be corrected at an early age by wearing myofunctional appliances or orthopedic devices.
Problem in the dental alignment which can be corrected by wearing braces. It may involve the extraction of teeth if there is moderate to severe crowding.
Problem in the skeletal alignment of the jaws (maxilla and mandible) and the dental malalignment. Such problems can be camouflaged with extractions where indicated and repositioning of the jaws if possible.
Correction with functional appliances can be done in the mixed dentition status. The appliance makes use of the natural growth of the child and helps reposition the jaws. Fixed braces are indicated after the eruption of permanent teeth around 10-12 years of age.
There are three main types of braces available:
They can be of two types
Metallic braces are more visible and ceramic braces are considerably less visible. The difference between the two is esthetics. The conventional braces have a bracket fixed on the tooth and a wire placed over them. The wire is attached onto the bracket by elastic rings.
Self-ligating option negates the use of elastics. The wire is snugly fit into the bracket which has a sliding shutter of its own. Since the wire is placed in a bracket slot with a shutter there is no risk of the wire coming out due to an elastic falling off.
Lingual braces are attached on the inner surface of the teeth towards the tongue and hence are virtually invisible. However, with lingual braces the patient has to provide the orthodontist longer chair time during subsequent appointments since the wires and brackets are placed at difficult and inaccessible areas of the mouth.
Clear aligners are completely invisible. They are removable trays which are to be worn by the patient for 20-22 hours a day. The trays are removed for eating and drinking. Thus, there are no food restrictions with aligners. There are no sharp wires or any chances of an emergency. However, the success of the treatment depends on the compliance of the patient since the treatment is done by means of removable trays. If the trays are not worn with due compliance, the treatment will not progress as expected. The trays are custom made after a digital impression. They are very comfortable can be done at any age.