Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The goal of orthodontic treatment is to correct bite problems and align teeth to create a beautiful and functional smile. This is typically accomplished using braces or clear aligners, which apply gentle pressure to the teeth over time to gradually move them into the desired position. Orthodontic treatment can also help to improve the overall health of the teeth and gums, as well as the patient’s appearance and self-esteem.
Orthodontic treatment can focus on dental displacement only, or can deal with the control and modification of facial growth. In the latter case it is better defined as “dentofacial orthopedics”. Orthodontic treatment can be carried out for purely aesthetic reasons—improving the general appearance of patients’ teeth and face for cosmetic reasons—but treatment is often prescribed for practical reasons, providing the patient with a functionally improved bite (occlusion).
If the main goal of the treatment is dental displacement, most commonly a fixed multibracket therapy is used. In this case, orthodontic wires are inserted into dental braces, which can be made from stainless steel or a more esthetic ceramic material.
A type of orthodontic treatment used to straighten and align teeth. They consist of metal brackets and wires that are attached to the teeth and adjusted over time to gradually move the teeth into the desired position.
Braces work by applying pressure to the teeth, which causes them to move. The brackets, which are bonded to the teeth, act as the anchor points for the wire. The wire is then threaded through the brackets and tightened. This applies pressure to the teeth, which causes them to move.
Braces are typically worn for 12-24 months, depending on the severity of the case. After treatment is complete, patients will typically wear a retainer to keep their teeth in the correct position.
Additionally, there are a few types of braces such as:
- Traditional metal braces
- Ceramic braces
- Lingual braces
- Self-Ligating braces
- Clear aligners (Invisalign)
All of them have the same goal but they are different in terms of appearance and comfort. If the main goal of the treatment is dental displacement, most commonly a fixed multibracket therapy is used. In this case, orthodontic wires are inserted into dental braces, which can be made from stainless steel or a more esthetic ceramic material.
Traditional Metal Braces
A fixed multibracket therapy, also known as traditional metal braces, is the most commonly used orthodontic treatment for correcting dental displacement. The treatment involves attaching metal brackets and wires to the teeth, which are adjusted over time to move the teeth into the desired position. The metal brackets are typically made of stainless steel, but ceramic brackets can also be used for a more aesthetic appearance.
The wires that are inserted into the brackets exert a force on the teeth, which causes them to move over time. As treatment progresses, the wires are replaced with stronger ones to continue the movement of the teeth. The treatment is considered fixed because the brackets and wires are bonded to the teeth, and they cannot be removed until treatment is complete. The duration of treatment depends on the complexity of the case, but it can range from 12 to 24 months on average.
Metal self-ligating braces
Metal self-ligating braces are orthodontic braces that use a specialized clip instead of elastic bands to hold the wire. The self-ligating mechanism allows for lower friction and less tightening appointments, leading to more efficient treatment and comfort for the patient. They can be made of various metals, including stainless steel or titanium, and are often used in conjunction with other orthodontic appliances to achieve the desired results.
Clear aligners (Invisalign)
also known as invisible braces, are a type of orthodontic treatment used to straighten teeth. They are made of clear, plastic material that is custom-fit to the patient’s teeth. The aligners are worn over the teeth and gradually move them into their proper position. Clear aligners are an alternative to traditional metal braces and are popular for their discreet appearance. They are typically recommended for mild to moderate cases of misalignment.
After a course of active orthodontic treatment, patients will often wear retainers, which will maintain the teeth in their improved position while the surrounding bone reforms around them. The retainers are generally worn full-time for a short period, perhaps 6 months to a year, and then worn periodically (typically nightly during sleep) for as long as the orthodontist recommends. It is possible for the teeth to stay aligned without regular retainer wear. However, there are many reasons teeth will crowd as a person ages; thus there is no guarantee that teeth, orthodontically treated or otherwise, will stay aligned without retention. For this reason, many orthodontists recommend periodic retainer wear for many years (or indefinitely) after orthodontic treatment.
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