Orthodontics: Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.
The technical term for these problems is "malocclusion," which means "bad bite." The practice of orthodontics requires professional skill in the design, application and control of corrective appliances, such as braces, to bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment and to achieve facial balance.
To treat the malocclusion two type of treatment are used :
1. Removable Appliances
2. Fixed Orthodontic Braces
Two-Phase Orthodontics (early interceptive treatment)
During early age children exhibit signs of crowding of teeth during there growth period. Jaws may grow too much or too little. Sometimes they may be much too narrow or wide. These children (over the age of 4) may be excellent candidates for early orthodontic care.
Because children are growing at a rapid rate, appliances can be utilized to direct growth to improve the jaw and teeth alignment. Most often it is simply creating enough room to have all the permanent teeth erupt without the need for extractions. With some cases, if this early care is not provided, corrections may involve orthognathic surgery.
Some children may have early orthodontics with braces placed on just a few teeth, such as one molar on each side and the front 4 teeth, we call this a 2 by 4. The goals of partial braces are front tooth alignment and assisting in establishing a correct relationship between the upper and lower.
Early treatment may decrease the treatment time required for the second phase. Often, at the end of the first-phase, the teeth are not be in their final position, this will be accomplished during the second-phase. The primary goal of the first phase is to develop a solid foundation for the teeth. Periodic recall appointments are set in order to check the progression of jaw growth and permanent tooth eruption.
Second-phase treatment most often consists of straight-forward orthodontic therapy that will accomplish the final alignment of the teeth.
The major advantage of two-phase therapy is to maximize the opportunity to guide jaw growth and tooth eruption. Optimizing the treatment with the correct timing of the child growth and development is of utmost importance in these cases.
The main disadvantage of waiting for permanent tooth eruption is a final result that may not be functionally healthy or stable. Tooth extraction or corrective jaw surgery (orthognathic surgery) may be required as well.
Causes of Malocclusion:
Most malocclusions are inherited, but some are acquired. Inherited problems include crowding of teeth, too much space between teeth, extra or missing teeth, and a wide variety of other irregularities of the jaws, teeth and face.
Acquired malocclusions can be caused by trauma (accidents), thumb, finger or dummy (pacifier) sucking, airway obstruction by tonsils and adenoids, dental disease or premature loss of primary (baby) or permanent teeth. Whether inherited or acquired, many of these problems affect not only alignment of the teeth but also facial development and appearance as well.
Overjet or Protruded upper teeth:
Upper front teeth that extend beyond normal contact with the lower front teeth are prone to
trauma, and indicate poorbite of the posterior teeth. Thumb and finger sucking habits can also cause a protrusion of the upper incisor teeth.
Deep overbite occurs when the lower incisor (front) teeth bite too close or into the gingiva behind the upper teeth. Significant bone damage and discomfort can occur. A deep bite can also result in excessive wear of the incisor teeth.
An open bite results when the upper and lower incisor teeth do not touch when biting down. This causes all the chewing pressure to be placed on the back teeth.