Orthodontics refers to a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on treating patients whose teeth are in an improper position when their mouth is closed, resulting in an improper bite or malocclusion. Orthodontics additionally encompasses controlling and treating various aspects of dentofacial orthopedics or facial growth, as well as the development and shape of the jaw. An orthodontist is someone who specializes in orthodontics.
The word orthodontics used to be referred to as orthodontia. The word originates from the Greek word "orthos," which translates to "proper, perfect or straight," and the word "dentos" which translates to "teeth." Orthodontics covers cosmetic dentistry as well. It can help the patient achieve their goal of improving their appearance.
There are many medical dental devices that an orthodontist may utilize during the straightening and repositioning process including: plates, headgear, braces, retainers etc. These appliances can help to straighten crooked or crowded teeth, close wide gaps between the teeth, improve oral function as in eating or speech, ensure the tips of the teeth are aligned, improve the long term health of the teeth and gums, correct and improper bite and prevent long term trauma or excessive wear on the teeth.
What is Malocclusion?
The term malocclusion translates to "bad bite." In certain instances, childrenís teeth do not always properly develop. Malocclusion refers to misaligned and crooked teeth and a fault between the two dental arches; the bottom set of teeth and the top set of teeth. Sometimes this may develop for hereditary reasons, or due to injury of the facial bones or injury to the teeth or even from frequent thumb sucking. Finger or thumb sucking can end up causing a localized deformation of the teeth and supporting bone. The thumb sucking habit needs to be curtailed in order to restore a natural improvement.
For the most part, malocclusions do not affect overall physical health. It is not a form of disease; however, it is a variation in the normal and correct position of the teeth. Malocclusion may impact on the shape of the individualís face and can dramatically impact the appearance of their teeth. This may end up resulting in depression, a lack of self-confidence and much embarrassment.
According to some health authorities, approximately 1/3 of all twelve year olds in Canada most likely need some form of orthodontic treatment. People undergo orthodontic treatment for a variety of issues including:
When the patientís jaw is narrow or their teeth are quite large, crowding may result. There may not be enough space for all of the teeth. When this situation occurs, the orthodontist may need to remove one or more teeth, or the wisdom teeth, in order to make room for the other teeth.
Protruding Front Teeth:
When the front teeth protrude, treatment not only helps to improve the overall appearance of the patient, it additionally protects the teeth from damage. More commonly, people whose front teeth protrude may injure them falling down or playing sports etc.
Once the adult teeth erupt and are not in the correct position, impacted teeth may occur.
The lower and upper teeth do not match in this instance, particularly when the teeth or showing or when the mouth is closed.
Overbite or Deep Bite:
The upper teeth come down over the lower teeth too much when the teeth are clenched.
The upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth when the teeth are clenched.
There is an opening between the lower teeth and the upper teeth when the teeth are clenched.
A "bulldog" appearance occurs when the lower teeth are too far forward or the upper teeth are positioned too far back.
In this kind of bite, at least one of the upper teeth does not come down slightly in from the lower teeth when the teeth are clenched. Instead, they are positioned too close to the tongue or the cheek.
There are no spaces or gaps in between the teeth. This is due to the either the teeth not filling up the mouth, as in the opposite of crowding or due to a missing tooth.