Orthodontics is a branch of dental medicine that deals with the prevention, diagnosis and correction of irregularly placed teeth and its surrounding structures. The most effective and common way of correcting malocclusion is fixed therapy.
In addition to aesthetics, orthodontic treatments can improve tooth function and mastication, while preventing excessive tooth wear, as well as TMJ and masticatory muscle overload. Proper dental arches ease and improve teeth cleaning and allow for a better oral hygiene.
The patient should first be examined by the orthodontist at the age of seven, while it is still possible to correct some minor irregularities and predict future dental development.
EARLY (interceptive) ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT
The goal of an early treatment is to prevent the development of an anomaly into a bigger problem which may prove difficult to solve. Through interventions at an early age we can prevent later extraction of permanent teeth, correct the irregularities that prevent regular jaw development such as over- or inverted cross bite. Moreover, at this age we can help the child stop with the unpleasant habits (sucking of the thumb and lips, breathing through the mouth, infantile swallowing). Depending on the problem, the therapy is carried out with different appliances.
For our younger patients (7-12 years) in whom we want to prevent an abnormal bite, we use LM activators. These orthodontic treatment devices are also used in pre-eruption guidance. Treatment typically begins with the appearance of the lower incisors. However, it is also applied during late mixed dentition or early permanent dentition. Activators are prefabricated and correspond to the ideal occlusion.
In modern orthodontics there is no age limit for orthodontic treatment. There is virtually no essential difference between the displacement of teeth in adults and in children. In adults, the treatment is done exclusively with fixed appliances.
SPECIALIST EXAMINATION AND DIAGNOSTICS
During your first appointment with the orthodontist’s, the specialist on duty will conduct a thorough examination, as well as take an impression of your teeth in order to recreate a dental study model. Subsequent analysis of the panoramic and cephalometric radiographs of the study model provide the necessary information to determine an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. A set of intraoral and extraoral slides is devised in order to compare the relationship between the teeth and jaws, as well as the outer appearance of your teeth before and after the treatment.
FIXED ORTHODONTIC APPLIANCES
In contemporary orthodontics, most distortion of teeth and jaws dealt with after the eruption of permanent teeth (from ten to thirteen years) is conducted with fixed appliances. These are orthodontic devices that specialist orthodontists place on the teeth using adhesives techniques. It consists of braces and wires that connect the teeth together. Fixed orthodontic appliances can either be metal or aesthetic (composite, ceramic, sapphire).
Transparent appliances have been increasingly used during the last couple of years as an alternative to traditional fixed braces. They are ideal for adult patients with mild irregularities of the teeth.
The first step in making an aligner consists of a review and panoramic dental imaging. The following photographs and digital prints are analyzed before an individual treatment plan is devised. A series of special transparent guards are made for the patient to wear over a period of 2-3 weeks, after which they are replaced with another series. Each aligner moves your teeth for approximately 0.3 mm until they are corrected to the desired position determined in the initial analysis. The aligners are made using specialized 3D printers. They are completely invisible and much more comfortable to wear than fixed appliances. The aligners operate with less force than those present in appliances with wire. That’s why they aren’t utilised for the correction of major irregularities in the intermaxillary relations. Their primary concern is providing aesthetic solutions for incisors (front teeth).
Because they are removable, transparent braces allow better hygiene in relation to fixed ones. Inflammation of the gums is thus avoided, a frequent occurrence with fixed braces. Moreover, the development of caries during treatment is far less likely to happen. However, if the patient takes the braces off too often, the desired results won’t be achieved. Doctor-patient cooperation and an awareness of the need to constantly wear the braces is crucial to the success of this treatment.