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Orthodontics: Overview And The Problems It Treats | Hawaii Family Dental

Written by Danica Lacson on October 2, 2018

What Is Orthodontics?

Derived from the Greek words orthos (correct or straight) and odont (tooth), orthodontics is the field of dentistry concerned with the diagnosis, prevention, and correction of improperly positioned teeth.

Who practices Orthodontics?

The dentist who specializes in Orthodontics is called an orthodontist.

How can I become an orthodontist?

Like other specialization, becoming an orthodontist can take ten or more years of education after high school graduation. First, four years of college education is required to enter dental school which will take another four years to complete.

Next, additional two to three years of training and education of orthodontic residency will be needed. After completing your education, you have to acquire the American Board of Orthodontics board certification to legally practice as an orthodontist.

What are Orthodontic Treatments?

Orthodontic treatments are treatments performed by an orthodontist to correct problems with the teeth's alignment, bite, spacing, and jaw problems.

Orthodontic treatments include fixed and removable appliances.

  • Fixed appliances include braces, special fixed appliances, and fixed space maintainers.
  • On the other hand, removable devices include aligners, removable space maintainers, jaw repositioning appliances, lip and cheek bumpers, palatal expander, removable retainers, and headgear.

These devices help move the teeth, retrain muscles and affect the growth of the jaws through gentle pressure on the teeth and jaws. At times, tooth extraction may be done to provide adequate room for the movement of the teeth.

Orthodontic treatment may also involve multiple dental visits for adjustments. Treatment period also varies per case, depending on the severity of the issue.

Who needs an Orthodontic Treatment?

Candidates for orthodontic treatment include people suffering from overbite or buck teeth, underbite, crossbite, open bite, misplaced midline, spacing, and crowding.

Why should I get an Orthodontic Treatment?

Aside from the aesthetic consequence, crooked and malpositioned teeth are difficult to clean, posing a higher risk of tooth loss due to decay and periodontal diseases. They also cause additional stress on the chewing muscles that can lead to headaches, TMJ syndrome and pains in the neck, shoulder, and back.

When should I get an Orthodontic Treatment?

There is no stipulated age when to undergo the treatment. Dental professionals suggest an early treatment as young as eight years old to avoid complications.

When did Orthodontics begin?

Archaeological findings suggested that the history of orthodontics records back to more than 2,000 years as part of medicine.

The claim of its long history is supported by the discovery of mummified remains with metal bands wrapped around their teeth in Egypt.

The practice of orthodontics was also observed in early civilizations such as the Greeks, the Etruscans, and the Romans.

Fast forward to the 18th century, Pierre Fauchard, who is considered the Father of Modern Dentistry, invented bandeau, which is a horseshoe-shaped strip of metal contained regularly spaced holes that fit around the teeth to correct their alignment.

The 19th century gave significant contributions to orthodontics in the United States.

By the 20th century, the exact properties of malocclusion or misalignment were identified by Edward Hartley Angle. Recognized as the Father of Modern Orthodontics, Angle also addressed orthodontic problems with an increasingly useful set of orthodontic appliances.

At present, development in orthodontics continues to take place in hopes to bring improvement to the cons of existing treatments.

Disclaimer: The oral health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. Hawaii Family Dental strongly recommends to always consult licensed dentists or other qualified health care professionals for any questions concerning your oral health.


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