Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry that aims to prevent dental and maxillofacial irregularities, and focuses on intercepting the progress of any existent ones and treat them along with creating better esthetics and function (mastication, phonation etc.)
What are the causes of orthodontic irregularities?
Birth defects (lip-palate clefts etc.)
Malfunctions (mouth breathing etc.)
Harmful habits (thumb sucking, long use of pacifiers etc.)
Early loss of deciduous teeth
Why should the orthodontic irregularities be treated?
Help efficient biting, mastication and phonation.
Contribute to healthy teeth and gums.
Reduce the susceptibility to gingival diseases and caries.
Prevent various malfunctions (joint problems etc.)
Subsequent to the treatment of dental irregularities, function and appearance of these teeth are improved thus an esthetic look is achieved.
When should an orthodontic examination be carried out?
Sometimes an orthodontic examination at ages 5 or 6 can be useful. At this age, no orthodontic treatment is carried out but some preventive measures can be taken. These are defined as preventive and interceptive orthodontic treatments.
Generally, there are two stages of orthodontic treatments:
1.Corrective Stage: Currently, orthodontic treatments can be carried out at any age. Treatments include fixed or removable appliances.
2.Retention Stage: At this stage, passive appliances are used and the outcome of the previous stage is intended to maintain.
Preventive Orthodontic Treatments
The purpose of these treatments is to acquire enough space for permanent teeth. Retainers are prepared to maintain the spaces created by the early loss of deciduous teeth.
Interceptive Orthodontic Treatments
In order to prevent potential problems due to harmful habits like thumb sucking and abnormal swallowing, appliances are prepared to help quitting these habits. So as to retain spaces of lost teeth for the permanent teeth to erupt expectedly, preventive measures are taken for the patients in mixed dentition.
First examination for orthodontic treatment must be carried out subsequent to the eruption of upper and lower permanent incisors at ages 7 or 8. At this age, a lot of infants have both permanent and deciduous teeth.
Through early detection of orthodontic irregularities, treatments of such problems are easier. Irregularities concerning jaws (skeletal problems) are treated particularly during infancy and puberty when growth and development is still active. If these are not treated at an early age, they can be corrected with orthognathic surgery after age eighteen. In some cases, although the problem is detected at an early age, orthodontist can have a “wait and see” approach thus the appropriate time can be determined through periodic controls.