Orthodontia is a field of dentistry that is concerned with the study and treatment of the problems related to the alignment of teeth, dentomaxillofacial structures (malocclusions and bad positioning) as well as disorders of the temporomandibular joint.
The major part of the orthodontic treatments are directed to correct the position of the teeth, but more and more this specialty becomes a part of aesthetic dental treatments and periodontal treatment, since it is demonstrated that many pathologies (periodontitis) are being spectacularly meliorated after having realized an orthodontic treatment.
t worth emphasizing also that at the stage prior to the colocation of implants it is often necessary to provide an orthodontic treatment in order to leave an adequate space where a missing tooth or teeth will be situated.
That’s why this field, as well as others in Dentistry, require an adequate education and proven experience of the professionals that practice it, in order to diagnose and resolve a wide range of pathologies that this specialty covers.
To make a correct diagnosis, the orthodontic specialist should previously realize an orthopantomography and a teleradiography of the skull, as well as take a few models of the patient’s mouth that allow us to make a personalized study and thus determine the necessary time to compete the treatment with success.
At what age should I start the orthodontic treatment?
These treatments can be of two types depending of the forces applied:
- Fixed: these are elements that are adhered to the teeth (bands and brackets) that bind tightly some thin metal arches through ligatures.
- Removable: they can be taken off and put on easily, which presupposes a huge advantage for the oral hygiene. Although this treatment has always been an option for early age or childhood, each time it is more and more indicated for adult patients thanks to recent developments in this specialty.
These are the most frequently diagnosed dentofacial alterations:
Prognathism: This refers to a excessive protrusion of the jaw (misnamed bifida). In some cases a simultaneous intervention of a maxillofacial surgeon (orthognatic surgery) is needed to reach a satisfactory result.
Open bite: It is when there is an open space when connecting the opposite upper teeth with the lower teeth.
The most common causes are:
- Suction habit (thumb-sucking)
- Tongue habit (pushing the upper teeth with tongue)
- Osseous discrepancy of the upper jaw or the lower jaw
Over bite: It is when the upper teeth bite over by half or more of the lower part. It can eventually cause injures or sores of the mucous membrane of the upper palate.
Crossbite: It is when the upper jaw bites on the inside of the lower jaw.
Diastema: It refers to the excessive spaces between the teeth, that in childhood are often caused by the pressure that teeth provoke when erupting and by the force of the lip frenum, especially in the upper jaw.
Snoring and bad position of the tongue: Snoring in childhood is a sign of the possible obstruction of the airway and can be a serious problem that may affect in a significant way during the period of youth. Sometimes it is caused by the narrow upper jaw, and this is why apart from the otolaryngologist an intervention of an orthodontist is necessary in order to eliminate or significantly reduce this problem.
Bruxism or grinding of the teeth: The problems of TMJ (temporomandibular joint) are determined as an excessive clenching of the teeth (normally while sleeping at night) and by a problem of poor dental occlusion. All this may provoke the following symptoms:
- Earaches and headaches
- Muscle contraction both around the cheek muscles and cervical and neck muscles.
- Clicks o noises when opening and closing the mouth
- Dificult or restricted mouth opening
Often in order to attain the adequate reslut, a combined treatment with the orthodontist, prosthodontist and physical therapist is needed .