~”Can you straighten my teeth?” is the most common question patients ask when they visit an orthodontist. Here are some things that may help us answer that question for you.
Although one of the main by-products of treatment is straight teeth, orthodontics is mainly the treatment of growth or functional problems which cause malocclusion (incorrect bite) in the teeth.
Because each case is unique, the orthodontist must have a thorough knowledge of the anatomy of the mouth, face, and head as well as an understanding of growth and development and apply that knowledge to the individual. In addition, the orthodontist must be aware of potential problems a patient may have with growth and development which would lead to the emergence of orthodontic problems. This knowledge is gained through a two- to three-year post-graduate program in orthodontics preceded by a four-year program in dental school and an undergraduate college degree.
Beyond evaluating how to straighten the teeth, orthodontists must examine a number of elements such as:
– symmetry, profile, smile and muscle balance of the face;
– growth patterns in the facial bones and the jaws
the position of individual teeth and their relationship to each other within the same jaw and the opposing jaw;
– overbites, overjets and the protrusion of the teeth
habits such as thumb or finger sucking, tongue thrusting or reverse swallowing, as well as nail biting and posture;
– tooth decay, gum disease, missing or displaced teeth, extra teeth, impacted teeth, wisdom teeth, muscle imbalances; and
– Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorders such as clicking, popping, locking or pain.
In diagnosis, the orthodontist must take all these elements into consideration and, by applying forces to and through the teeth, modify the growth patterns and muscular and skeletal structures of the patient.
It is because so much training and knowledge is required to recognize and properly diagnose each case that Briss Orthodontics insists on a high degree of doctor-patient involvement. The orthodontist plans the treatment and discusses the treatment options with patients and parents and treats each patient at every visit.
For more information on Orthodontics and Orthodontic Treatment, visit the American Association of Orthodontists online.