Orthodontics is a specialized form of dentistry focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, irregularities, abnormalities and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.
Who is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received three years of additional training and experience. Your orthodontist is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your teeth and give you an attractive smile.
How to choose your orthodontist?
Deciding to get braces on is a big decision for you. It is very important for you to choose a good Orthodontist who has adequate knowledge, skills and expertise to diagnose and treat your orthodontic problem correctly.
Incorrectly diagnosed and executed treatment plans can ruin your teeth and face, prolong treatment time and grossly compromise final treatment results.
Here are few tips to choose an orthodontist:
• Choose a qualified orthodontist, with an MDS in Orthodontics from a recognized dental institute. These orthodontist receive 3 years special training and pass qualifying examinations to get the MDS degree in Orthodontics.
• Choose an Orthodontist who has a well equipped orthodontic set up : A resident orthodontist who has his own office has developed an infrastructure which is best suitable to treat an orthodontic patient most effectively. He has well trained staff to assist him and to bring out the best in him. Visiting orthodontists who work at different clinics every day cannot develop an efficient treatment delivery system to achieve best possible results.
• Choose an orthodontist with an efficient maintenance of patient records: Orthodontists are supposed to maintain plaster models, x ray and photographic records of all their patients. The orthodontist who takes pains to maintain these records is more likely to be more methodical in treatment approach. Ask your orthodontist to share with you treatment results of few cases treated by him to understand the quality of results delivered.
• An orthodontist who keeps himself updated by learning new skills and technics and attending speciality conferences is always more informed about technological advancements and newer appliances and technics in the field.
• Take references from friends, colleagues, schoolmates who have undergone braces treatment. Know about the quality of results, duration of treatment and entire approach of an orthodontist.
• Do not choose an orthodontist because his treatment fee is less : A good orthodontist knows his worth. He will use quality materials for your braces to give you the best. He will work harder on your smile to mould it perfectly with least discomfort to you in shortest possible time.
Types Of Braces
Few people are lucky enough to be born with perfect teeth, but orthodontic treatment can make a huge difference to you or your child. Your orthodontist may recommend any of the following types of braces or dental appliances to help correct your particular problem.
1. Traditional Braces/Metal Braces:
Traditional braces have progressed since the early days and are now lighter in weight and structure than they used to be. They are made from a high-grade stainless steel and have metal brackets that are attached to each tooth using a type of cement. The brackets are linked to each other with a thin archwire, which puts pressure on the teeth to cause them to move slowly into the correct position.
The arch wires are connected to the brackets using tiny elastics known as ligatures or o-rings, which your orthodontist will change each time he tightens the braces. Some types of braces have brackets that don't need o-rings, and these are called self-ligating braces.
2. Ceramic Braces/Tooth colored Braces:
These work in the same way as traditional braces, but the brackets are made from a clear, transparent ceramic
material. The braces are less visible to others, which makes them a popular choice for adults who need orthodontic treatment.
3. Lingual Braces:
Lingual braces are placed behind the teeth (by the tongue and palate), rather than in front, and therefore offer a great cosmetic alternative for those who want their teeth straightened, without the braces showing.
The process for lingual braces involves taking an impression of the teeth, which is then sent to a dental laboratory and used to create customized brackets. The process takes about six weeks and, once complete, allows the orthodontist to use a specific process to cement the braces onto the back surfaces of your teeth.
Like traditional braces, this product works by applying gentle yet continuous pressure on the teeth, to help them slowly shift into proper position. The treatment can take anywhere from 18-36 months, depending on the severity of a patient's overcrowding of teeth or their bite.
Braces are definitely worth the investment, but lingual braces have special requirements. Because they're custom made, they cost a bit more and treatment tends to be more involved.
4. Self ligating Braces- Damon Braces/ Smart Clip Appliance:
This type of braces is currently enjoying a wave of popularity with orthodontists because it provides gentler treatment and requires fewer dental visits. Damon bracesare self-ligating and use a slide mechanism instead of elastics to connect the arch wires.
These braces produce faster results because the teeth can move on their own without needing to be adjusted. This causes less friction and pressure on the teeth, so movement is less painful. The braces are also easier to keep clean. Having to make fewer trips to your dental professional means that the process costs less time and money, too.
5. Clear and Removable Aligners:
Invisalign is a type of clear aligner that you can use instead of metal or Damon braces. This involves a range of clear plastic aligners that resemble mouth guards, which are custom-made for you. They are removable for eating and cleaning, and you change them out for a newly made aligner every two weeks. Each new aligner takes the adjustment of your teeth one step further.
Clear aligners are also recommended for ongoing use after you complete your orthodontic treatment. These
appliances help to maintain the results you want until your teeth have settled down and finished moving.
6. Forsus Appliances:
The Indian Orthodontc Society recommends that children get screened by an orthodontist at the age of 7 because early childhood is the best time for treatment. Some children require the use of Forsus appliances to correct difficult overbites, and these have largely replaced the use of headgear for braces. The Forsus appliance is a spring worn inside the cheeks that attaches to the braces in order to adjust the upper or lower jaw into position.
7. Palatal Expanders:
For patients who have overcrowded teeth, two options to remedy the problem are tooth extraction and palatal
expansion. Tooth extraction was the preferred solution in the past, but modern orthodontists often recommend the
wearing of a palatal expander for a period. This is a device that fits your palate and applies pressure to the back of your upper molars to gradually move your teeth farther apart. This expands your palate and makes it possible for other types of braces to be fitted to correct the position of your teeth.