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Orthodontics is a certain type of study in dentistry whichdeals with malocclusions. Malocclusion is the medical term for improper biteswhich is in most cases triggered by disproportionate jaw relationships andtooth irregularities. Orthodontics is also sometimes referred to asorthodonture or orthodontia. The actual term itself is derived from the Greekword orthos which means proper or straight and another Greek word odous whichcan be translated as tooth. There are two main issues orthodontics deals with. The first one is the control or modification of the facial growth,while the second one includes the focus on the displacement of the teeth andother dental elements. In most cases the orthodontics which is focused on thecontrol or modification of the facial growth is usually referred to asdentofacial orthopaedics. Sometimes the orthodontic type of treatment may beperformed strictly out of aesthetic reasons. These treatment optionsare generally intended to improve the overall visual appearance of the teeth.Some orthodontists work exclusively on the teeth, while certain others work onthe reconstruction of the entire face.

History of Orthodontics

The first dentist whose practice was limited strictly toorthodontics was the famous Edward Angle, who is still considered and referredto as the father of modern orthodontics.

Modern Orthodontics

Modern orthodontics are now a long way from the beginningsdefined by the aforementioned Edward Angle mainly due to the fact that recenttimes saw the use of numerous different types of digital models. The industryeverywhere around the world is currently in the process of conversion fromanalog to digital methods of record keeping. One of the latest developments inthe field of modern orthodontics is the Three Dimensional Dental Model forComputer Automated Treatment Simulation which is developed by the University ofMinnesota. It is a very powerful software tool which is extremely efficient inminimizing the amount of human input required for orthodontic treatmentplanning and automatically segmenting the teeth from one another and the gums.A large number orthodontists around the world use digital laboratories in orderto provide their patients with an excellent service. On the other hand, suchdigital laboratories tend to be rather expensive. The process of segmentation which is necessarycan be carried out much more efficiently and cost effectively by utilizing thelatest state of the art software tools.

Classification of Methods

There are various different types of treatment methods whichcan be used in the practice of orthodontics. The most common types of treatmentoptions used are metal wires which need to be inserted into the orthodonticbrackets. These wires are usually made from stainless steel, but patients whoprefer materials which are much more aesthetic oriented may order them to be madefrom ceramic. This design relies on the interaction of the wires with theorthodontic brackets so that they move the teeth in the preferred or desiredposition. The product called Invisalign is another commonly used and populartreatment method for all those who have problems with proper alignment of theteeth. This product consists of certain types of aligners made from clearplastic which are very efficient in leveling and aligning the teeth, but theysometimes may be somewhat complicated due to extensive amounts of compliancecompared to the traditional braces. Patients who suffer from teeth misalignmentshould not consider Invisalign as a replacement for traditional types ofbraces. Another commonly used method of treatment is called Suresmile. Thistype of treatment method utilizes a special 3-D imaging system which involves arobot and is very efficient in shortening the time which is usually require forthe straightening of the teeth. There are also numerous different types ofadditional components which may be helpful when it comes to moving the teethand jaw bones into desired positions. Such additional components may includeexpansion appliances, headgear, plates and Removable appliances among manyothers. Functional appliances are usually used in children who are between 5and 14 years old. These appliances are highly efficient in modifying thedimensions of the jaw and altering the relationship of the jaw. This type oforthodontic treatment method is commonly referred to as dentofacialorthopedics and in most cases it needs to be followed by another treatmentmethod commonly referred to as fixed multibracket therapy. This type oftherapy is used for the actual alignment of the teeth and the refinement of theocclusion. Once a course of any type of active orthodontic treatment is over,the patient usually has to wear retainers. Retainers are used for themaintenance of the teeth in the newly improved positions during the period ofbone reformation around them. Initially the retainers need to be worn for acouple of months full time and after that period the patient only needs to wearthem part time.

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