Orthodontics deals with the diagnosis, prevention and correction of improperly positioned teeth and jaws.
The aim of the orthodontics is to offer early treatment to prevent an orthodontic problem from occurring; if a problem has already occurred, orthodontic treatments will provide a way to solve this problem, help patients regain ideal dental function as well as permanent smile aesthetics. Crooked teeth can impact your oral health, causing periodontal disease and dental caries. Crooked teeth can also affect how you chew as they exert extra stress on temporomandibular joints (TMJ), which can eventually lead to digestive disorders. In cases where the upper and lower teeth are not aligned properly, additional stress is placed on a single teeth or the TMJ, leading to challenging problems. Mispronunciation and other common speech problems are closely related to the malposition of the front teeth, which can not only lead to dental problems but to skeletal problems as well. Due to misalignment of upper and/or lower jaw, patients can face problems that can affect chewing and speech functions. In terms of aesthetics, apparent skeletal asymmetry may also be present. In such cases, a surgical procedure in upper and/or lower jaw may be required in addition to the orthodontic treatment. This procedure called ‘orthognathic surgery’ corrects minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities and/or malformations in adults involving the mandible or the maxilla.
In Turkey, an orthodontist is a qualified specialist, who earned a bachelor’s degree in dentistry (5 years), and then spent 4-6 years training full time to be a specialist orthodontist.
The most important phase of an orthodontic treatment is to make a precise diagnosis. A thorough clinical examination as well as radiographic examinations is necessary to make a precise diagnosis of an orthodontic problem. After a detailed photographic and radiographic evaluation of jaw and teeth structure, and dental casts, your dentist will determine the cause of the problem and create a treatment plan accordingly.
WHAT CAUSES CROOKED TEETH?
Both genetic and environmental factors play a central role in the development and evolution of teeth and jaws. A number of unhealthy habits, including mouth-breathing, thumb sucking, lip and/or nail biting, pencil chewing, prolonged bottle feeding and pacifier use, can cause crooked teeth and jaw joint problems. In children beyond four years of age, who are given pacifier or bottle-fed, and in those breathing through the mouth rather than the nose, the shape of lower and upper jaws can be permanently affected. For that reason, you should take your children to the dentist regularly up until they are 7 years old. Otherwise, in their adult years, your children can suffer from tooth loss due to crooked, overlapped, or twisted grown teeth.
IS THERE A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ORTHODONTICS AND TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT (TMJ) DISORDERS?
Early tooth loss can be a result of traumatic avulsion or extraction of carious teeth. Anterior tooth loss does not lead to space loss if the primary cuspids are erupted. Problems with the jaw muscles/joints can cause temporomandibular disorders. Repetitive and untreated nail biting can also result in TMJ issues. Dental problems such as jaw pain, teeth grinding (bruxism) and tooth wear can arise due to malocclusion of teeth. An orthodontist will evaluate your malocclusion and make recommendations for the treatment of TMJ problems.
WHEN TO START ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT?
Every child should have an orthodontic examination by age seven. The earlier problems like tooth crowding, narrowness of the upper jaw, reverse occlusion (overbite), and jaw deviation are detected, the more successful your dental treatment will be.
HOW OLD FOR ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT?
Teeth can be moved at any age as long as the tissues surrounding the teeth are healthy. Healthy gums and bone structure can only be maintained through regular dental visits. There is no age limit for undergoing an orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic therapy is applicable to all age groups from 7 to 70, allowing teeth to be moved and giving patients the gift of a beautiful and healthy smile.
SIGNS YOU NEED ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT
If you suffer from malocclusion and bite problems, impacted or unerupted tooth, crooked, crowded or missing teeth, asymmetrical smile due to teeth or dental related problems, upper and lower jaws positioning problems, malocclusion due to body-focused repetitive habits such as thumb-sucking, nail biting, large gaps between your teeth, TMJ issues due to malocclusion and if your teeth do not touch when your mouth is closed, except a natural slight overbite, you might need an orthodontic care.
HOW LONG DOES ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT TAKE?
The length of orthodontic treatment largely depends on the problem in question, patient’s metabolism, patient’s ability to show up to scheduled appointments and the skills and qualities of the dentist. Average tooth movement rate in humans is approximately 1 mm per month. That is why the average orthodontic treatment usually requires from 18 months to 2 years to complete, subject to last longer in case of patients in need of orthognathic surgery or surgical exposure of unerupted or impacted teeth. Your orthodontist will provide you with information average length of the treatment after conducting detailed clinical and radiological analysis.
WILL I FEEL PAIN AND DISCOMFORT DURING ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT?
Braces do not hurt when they are applied to the teeth. However, you may experience a slight tingling sensation during tooth movement, which would last for a couple of days, then diminish with dental mobility. Each individual's pain tolerance and pain threshold is unique. Some patients feel the pressure applied to the teeth after braces are tightened while others do not feel any pain at all.
HOW TO BRUSH TEETH WITH BRACES?
Specially designed toothbrushes, interdental brushes and dental flosses are available to gently brush your teeth with braces. Available in several sizes, these brushes help you clean the outer surfaces of your teeth and braces, the top and bottom of your braces and between your brackets after you eat. Also, oral irrigators/dental showers providing running water are very effective in oral and dental care. The important thing here is to brush your teeth one by one slowly and carefully in front of the mirror.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF ORTHODONTIC BRACES
- 1- Traditional Metal Braces: Usually available in grey, they are made from stainless steel and have metal brackets that are attached to each tooth. They offer a high degree of effectiveness and an aesthetic appearance.
- 2- Transparent (Ceramic) Braces: They blend in with the natural colour of your teeth. Although ceramic braces have cosmetic appeal, they are more fragile.
- 3- Lingual Braces: They are metal brackets cemented onto the back surfaces of your teeth. They offer better aesthetics as they are virtually invisible.
- 4- Orthodontic Teeth Plates: They are hard plastic devices that fit around the top and/or bottom teeth and they can be removed or replaced during the treatment. Teeth plates can straighten your teeth without brackets. Plates are changed at regular intervals.
WILL MY TEETH SHIFT AFTER ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT?
Success of an orthodontic treatment is measured by lasting results. After orthodontic treatment is complete, a thin wire is carefully bonded to the inside surfaces of the teeth in order to prevent the front teeth from spreading back. In some cases, orthodontic plates that cover all of the teeth are supported by these fixed retainers. The final phase of orthodontic treatment is crucial in terms of maintaining the proper alignment of teeth and their surrounding tissues. Without preventive measures, teeth may move after braces come off. Your orthodontists will provide you with further information about the retention period.