Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry that is based on the diagnosis and treatment of different types of malocclusions. The word orthodontics comes from the Greek and means straight tooth. This specialty is aimed at correcting a function, occlusion, improving aesthetics, and offering well-being for the patient.
This part of dentistry causes changes in the teeth or also orthopedic changes, depending on each case, thanks to the application of different controlled forces, improving their position.
Orthodontics was born as a specialty thanks to its founder Edward Angle, who laid the foundations for the diagnosis and treatment of different types of malocclusions in 1906.
The different orthodontic treatments
In orthodontics there are different treatments which can correct some types of problems or others.
Orthodontic treatments are mainly based on interceptive orthodontics or corrective orthodontics. Although other types of orthodontics can be distinguished: functional orthopedics and orthognathic surgery.
Preventative or interceptive orthodontics is based on movements that are limited to a few teeth. This type of orthodontics is performed during temporary or mixed dentition, since it is based on correcting different types of habits and / or anomalies that can affect the proper development of the jaws and dental eruption. Within this type of orthodontics habits such as oral breathing, atopic swallowing or alterations such as open bites or crossed, unilateral or bilateral malocclusion can be corrected. In addition, with interceptive orthodontics, bone problems can be improved during growth or prevent them from getting worse.
The other type of orthodontics is corrective orthodontics. This type is part of the second phase of orthodontics which is performed after interceptive orthodontics, although it can be done in the same way without preventative orthodontics having been performed. Corrective orthodontics is based on correcting all types of malocclusion that could not be corrected with interceptive treatment or this first preventative phase has not been carried out. This orthodontics is based on performing different types of forces using orthodontic appliances to treat the established malocclusion.
Orthognathic surgery is also part of a type of orthodontics. This is mainly based on a surgical intervention of the upper or lower jaw, although sometimes both jaw surgeries can be performed in the same operation. This type of orthodontics is applied in cases in which it has not been possible to correct the malocclusion during growth and therefore in adulthood the jaws are consolidated and fully developed and the malocclusion can only be corrected by orthognathic surgery.
In order to choose one type of orthodontics or another, the specialist, the orthodontist, performs a complete medical history, an extraoral and intraoral examination of the patient, together with a detailed study to be able to obtain in this way a certain diagnosis that, finally, is planned all treatment based on all the factors involved in the malocclusion.
Orthodontic treatments can also be classified according to how appliances are used. Thus, fixed, removable and semi-fixed appliances are distinguished.
In fixed orthodontics, the appliances that are used cannot be removed from the mouth. On the other hand, in removable devices, the appliances can be removed and put back on by the patients themselves, this type requires greater collaboration on the part of the patient. Finally, semi-fixed orthodontics is one in which there is a part of the appliance that is fixed and another removable
Fixed orthodontics is usually used to correct all types of dental malocclusion. In it, the most widely used orthodontic appliances are braces. These devices are cemented in the teeth and can go in the buccal area or in the lingual area of the teeth. In addition, they can be of a metallic color or be transparent, the latter being more aesthetic.
Within removable orthodontics, two terms can be encompassed: removable appliances and functional appliances. Functional appliances are those that use the muscles’ own forces to generate movements, on the contrary, removable ones use forces from the appliance itself to produce orthodontic movements.
Removable orthodontics is commonly used in children since it is at this stage where there is constant development and growth and it is used to correct skeletal problems. Braces with this type of orthodontics can be passive, active or soft tissue support. Passive dental support works by tightening the tissues and muscle movements, active dental support have the function of moving the teeth and soft tissue support correcting malformations. It is important to note that within removable orthodontics the Invisalign system is included, which is part of the second part of orthodontics, the corrective, everything and that is a removable system.
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