Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes
in the prevention and correction of dental and facial irregularities. The
dentist who specializes in this field is known as an Orthodontist.
In simple terms his job is to properly position the tooth, and if necessary
the jaw bones so as to achieve maximum esthetic and functional efficiency.
The common problems, which require an orthodontist, are protruding anterior
teeth, Malocclusion (technical term for crooked, crowded or protruding
teeth, which do not fit together properly) crowding of teeth, too much space
between teeth, extra or missing teeth, cleft palate and a variety of
irregularities of the jaws and face.
Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain, and hence are prime
sources for accumulation of harmful bacteria. This may contribute to conditions
that cause not only tooth decay but eventually gum disease and tooth loss.
Orthodontic problems reduce the functional efficiency while chewing and can
also lead to problems with the mouth joint.
To prevent the above-mentioned consequences it is always advisable to let
the child have an orthodontic screening before the age of 7. The ideal age
to commence orthodontic treatment is between 11-14yrs, although treatment can
be started at any age. Human bone responds best to tooth movement before the
age of 18, and consequently orthodontic work is usually more beneficial to
a child than an adult.
The time taken for the completion of orthodontic treatment depends on the
severity of the problem, growth of the patientís mouth and face, and most
importantly the cooperation of the patient. It takes any where from a few
months to a few years.
An attractive smile wins a lot of hearts and hence should not be underestimated.
A pleasing appearance is a vital asset to oneís self-confidence. A person's
self-esteem often improves as treatment brings teeth, lips and face into proportion.
In this way, orthodontic treatment can benefit social and career success,
as well as improve oneís general attitude toward life. And thanks to the orthodontist
this is all possible.