Orthodontics, also known as malocclusion, is described by the American Association of Orthodontics as the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.
Although teeth straightening and extraction to improve alignment of remaining teeth has been practiced for a very long time, orthodontics as a science did not really exist until the 1880s. Several different inventors helped in the scientific evolution of dental braces, as we know them today. From Edward H. Angle, who was the first to devise an official classification system for the different levels of malocclusion (“bad bite”), to Eugene Solomon Talbot, the first to incorporate x-rays into the diagnosis process, the history of orthodontics is both fascinating and complex. Historians claim that two men in particular deserve the title of “The Father of Orthodontics.” The first is Norman W. Kingsley, a dentist, writer, artist and sculptor, who wrote his “Treatise on Oral Deformities” in 1880. Kingsley’s work greatly influenced this strange new “science of the teeth,” bringing worldwide attention to dental care and the possibility of correcting “bad bites” through gentle force. The second man who deserves credit is a dentist named J. N. Farrar who wrote two volumes entitled “A Treatise on the Irregularities of the Teeth and Their Corrections.” Farrar was highly skilled at designing brace appliances. It was he who first suggested the use of mild pressure to move teeth into proper alignment with one another, resulting in a better bite and improved ability to chew and talk. It is from this exciting history that the official practice of orthodontic correction was born.
An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Within the United States, orthodontists are required to complete a two- to three-year advanced residency program in orthodontics following the completion of their four-year graduate dental program. Each of these programs must be accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation. When choosing an orthodontist, be sure to check his or her credentials before beginning treatment!
To determine your individual needs, your orthodontist will perform a complete evaluation of your mouth, including:
- impressions of your teeth, from which clay-like models are made
- medical and dental health history
- x-rays of your head, jaws, and teeth
- photographs of your teeth, face, and smile for before and after comparison
Your orthodontist will carefully appraise the results and provide you with a comprehensive orthodontic treatment plan. It is very important to follow your orthodontist’s recommendations to achieve the radiant smile you desire!
Children and Orthodontic Correction
During an initial exam, your dentist will assess your child’s facial growth, spacing between teeth, and whether he or she has extra or missing teeth. Your dentist will also look for repetitive habits that may affect the alignment of your child’s teeth Bracesand jaw. These habits include tongue thrusting, pacifier use, and thumb-, lip-, or finger-sucking, mouth-breathing due to oversized adenoids or tonsils, and fingernail biting. These habits can alter tooth alignment as well as modify facial appearance by interfering with normal bone growth and development.
Most orthodontic problems are inherited, including tooth size and jaw size. A smaller jaw may contribute to crowding of teeth or tight spacing of teeth. Other genetic contributions may include overbite, underbite, extra or missing teeth, and irregular growth of the jaws, teeth, and face. So, while you’re sure you got that head of curly red hair from your dad, you may also have inherited his misaligned jaw! Other orthodontic problems can be caused by accidents, dental disease, or the premature loss of primary or permanent teeth.
Basically, orthodontic treatment has the potential to bring your child’s teeth, lips and face into harmony, creating a more symmetrical appearance and better jaw and teeth alignment. Overall, good orthodontic care can provide your child a big life advantage, both socially and personally!
in Foods With Orthodontic Braces…
Getting used to braces can mean making adjustments in your eating habits. Because some foods could potentially damage your braces or cause problems for your teeth, it is wise to avoid certain foods altogether. Your orthodontic specialist will provide you with a complete list of foods to avoid, but here’s a brief list of foods you should stay away from due to their damaging texture and/or consistency:
- whole apples
- sticky or hard candies
- corn on the cob
- corn chips or crispy taco shells
- hard foods, such as carrots
- lemons/lemon juice
- hard rolls or pizza crust
- hard pretzels
- sticky or sugary foods
Orthodontic Braces Care
Brushing your teeth gets more challenging and extra important when your mouth is full of things it’s not used to, like bands, brackets, and wires. All that hardware can interfere with proper brushing and the natural digestive process that normally bathes gums and helps keep your mouth clean. Trapped food particles and plaque provide a perfect breeding ground for cavity-causing bacteria. Gum disease also can develop, causing swelling and making cleaning even more difficult and painful. Improper dental care can also stain tooth enamel, so proper oral care and regular dental checkups are crucial to a successful orthodontic outcome.
Keeping your teeth clean and cavity-free is our top priority during orthodontic treatment. For more information about orthodontic care, please call us.
German Dental®, first introduced to consumers in 2000, is a method of orthodontic therapy used in lieu of traditional orthodontic braces, the most common method of straightening teeth. The Invisalign® method uses a series of clear, custom-crafted appliances designed to gradually move teeth to their desired positions. Many patients prefer German Dental ® aligners over traditional braces because of their esthetic value and because the appliances are removable.
Invisalign® braces are transparent, removable, and moldable braces. Instead of one pair of braces that are constantly adjusted, a series of clear, pliable braces are worn sequentially, adjusted during the course of treatment to maintain proper and consistent pressure on the teeth and gently moving them into proper alignment. Unlike regular braces, Invisalign® braces can be removed for teeth cleaning.
Orthodontics presents special challenges when it comes to good oral hygiene and prevention of tooth decay. To learn more about how to care for your teeth while undergoing orthodontic treatment.