What is Orthodontics ?
Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis, prevention and correction of malpositioned teeth and jaws. Dental braces are usually used for this type of treatment. Dental braces play a vital role in perfecting the smile of a child and in helping him regain his confidence. They help in straightening crooked teeth and pulling back protruding teeth improving the self esteem of a child.
Early signs of developing orthodontic problems in children.
- Upper front teeth erupting behind lower front teeth (cross bite)- upper teeth should
be ahead of the lower teeth for normal development of the jaws. This situation can
lead to underdevelopment of the nose and cheek region of a child.
- Shifting of jaws if a child is shifting his jaw towards one particular side, it might mean that the child has misaligned jaws. This can result in pain in ear region and asymmetry of the face.
- Prolonged thumb sucking habit- thumb sucking is normal for a child till 3 years of age If a child is sucking his thumb till much later years, it can result in teeth sticking out and inability of the lips to close.
- Early or delayed shedding of milk teeth milk teeth start shedding at 5-6 years of age and are completely lost by 11 years of age. Early or delayed shedding of milk teeth can result in permanent teeth erupting behind or above other teeth which can cause development of irregular teeth
- With availability of new invisible braces orthodontic treatment has become much more common in 30-40 years age group.
Why early treatment is better ?
Early treatment can prevent more serious problems from arising and may make treatment at an older age less. Orthodontist can correct the retarded or excess growth of jaws only at younger age. Early orthodontic treatment can reduce and sometimes eliminate the need for full treatment (Braces)
How is the treatment done ?
Depending upon the dental problem, either removable plates or fixed braces are used to correct the position of the teeth. Fixed braces are usually metal or ceramic braces. Braces consist of small brackets adhered to the teeth that are connected by a wire.
Braces work by applying pressure to the teeth to gradually shift them. Some milk teeth or permanent teeth are frequently removed during the procedure to gain space for moving the teeth and bringing them into a more esthetic position.
Sometimes elastics or rubber bands are advised to improve the fit of the jaws. Treatment duration with dental braces is usually 1.5- 2 years with a monthly appointment. With advent of newer technology of lingual braces, invisible braces and self ligating braces, orthodontic treatment has become more esthetic and comfortable for the patient.
Precautions to be taken during orthodontic treatment
- Diet restriction- Food items to be avoided during orthodontic treatment are hard candies, nuts and sticky foods to prevent any breakage of the bracket.
- Brushing- an orthodontic toothbrush is used twice a day to maintain good oral hygiene. Flossing also helps to clean the interdental area and keeps the gums healthy.
- Loosened brackets- itt case of breakage of any bracket or wire, orthodontic wax is used by the patient to protect the tissues.
After orthodontic treatment is completed, a set of retainers is given to the patient to retain the treatment results. The duration of wear of retainer is advised by the orthodontist but it usually lasts 6-12 months after removal of braces.
From bollywood to hollywood, dental braces have played their part in creating attractive and beautiful smiles and they continue to craft the most beautiful wonder of the world- the innocent smile of a child.