Understanding Orthodontic Treatment

Posted on: 11 July 2018


If you have problems with the positioning of your jaws or teeth, then you need to visit an orthodontist. Orthodontics, also known as dentofacial orthopedics, is a branch of dentistry that is concerned with the diagnosis, prevention and correction of improperly positioned jaws and teeth. People with improperly positioned teeth or jaws are at risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease since their teeth are difficult to clean.

The main work of the orthodontist revolves around correcting malocclusion

Malocclusion is the improper alignment of teeth. It often characterized by an underbite or an overbite. An overbite is when the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth. An underbite is when the lower teeth overlap the upper teeth. Other types of malocclusion are teeth crowding, crossbite, openbite, asymmetrical teeth or protruding front teeth. Severe malocclusion leads to headaches, chewing problems, speaking difficulty, grinding and clenching of teeth. In addition to this, deep overbites cause the patient's face to be short and rounded. Patients with malocclusion may have low self-esteem as their facial features are not as appealing as those of others. For children and teens, the orthodontist may correct their teeth arrangement by removing teeth, using braces or growth modification devices. In adults, braces, jaw expanders, chin caps or teeth removal are all options depending on the type of malocclusion. In severe cases, surgery is required. 

Orthodontic treatment should begin at an early age

Children that have malocclusion should visit the orthodontist as early as 12 years when their adult teeth are fully developed. At this age, preventive measures can be taken to prevent further problems. In adults, treatment is mainly curative as the malocclusion is likely to have progressed. The results of the treatment procedures help the patient restore their oral function and also improve their image.

If you would like to engage the services of an orthodontist in Australia, it is critical to ensure that he or she is duly qualified. An orthodontist must have a dental degree recognized by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). The individual must also have a two-year experience as a dentist and complete a three-year degree in orthodontics. Finally, he or she must be registered as an orthodontic specialist. 

Orthodontic appliances that treat malocclusion

Various strategies are employed by the orthodontist to ensure that teeth and jaws are in proper position. These include braces, teeth removal, surgery, jaw expanders or growth modification devices. It is prudent to ensure that an orthodontist is well qualified before engaging their services.