What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that corrects the poor position of bones and teeth by applying pressure using different appliances. Orthodontics is indicated if the teeth are crowded or if the position of the teeth makes them difficult to clean, which increases the risk of diseases such as gingivitis or periodontitis. Therefore, orthodontics is aimed at person’s well-being, by improving the function and aesthetics of their teeth.
The appliances used can be fixed (e.g. braces) or removable, allowing the person to remove them during performing dental hygiene measures and at meal times. Orthodontics is a technique used for both children and adults, although the advantage of orthodontics in children over orthodontics in adults is that the results are more effective, since it can be applied during the development of bone structures.
Orthodontics in adults:
Many adults have misaligned teeth or malocclusion of the teeth, which can result in tooth wear and jaw problems. Causes may be hereditary or due to the malposition of teeth developing during childhood.
By the time we are adults, the bones have stopped growing and there may be a loss of teeth or even some loss in the supporting bone. This can be corrected with braces or elastic appliances that move the jaw in the required direction. However, these treatments are not always effective, so surgery may be required to position the bones correctly, since adults are past the growth stage and so their bones cannot be modified. Orthodontics can be used later on to achieve stable occlusion and alignment of the teeth.
Types of adult orthodontics:
Orthodontic procedures include:
- Invisalign: a type of invisible orthodontics that is more comfortable and hygienic.
- Lingual braces: these are thin braces that are custom-made for each tooth. They are placed on the inner part of the tooth, so are also invisible.
- Sapphire braces: these are conventional braces, although they are made to match the colour of the teeth and are not very visible.
- Metal braces: these are the conventional type. They are generally more suitable for children, though they can also be effective for adults.
How to choose the best type of orthodontics for adults:
The decision on which procedure to use should be made together with the orthodontist, since each person requires individualised treatment based on their specific needs.