Orthodontics, more than a matter of appearance Orthodontics, more than a matter of appearance

In addition to guaranteeing you a shapely smile, the various innovations in this field of oral health are aimed at making the mouth cavity functional.

Juan David Giraldo
Orthodontic dentist and maxillary orthopedist

In order to maintain good oral health, the recommendation is to visit the dentist every six months. But how do you know when it’s time to make an appointment with an orthodontist? A specialist on the subject, Juan David Giraldo Rincón, explains that dentists are usually the ones that suggest the treatment, depending on the nature of the diagnosis.

The above is important in being able to detect problems with the masticatory system at an early stage. “The support provided by orthodontic treatment usually begins with a process of maxillary orthopedics. In children around five years old, the progress of the growth and development of the maxillae is examined, before examining the teeth themselves”, Giraldo notes.

For example, some childhood habits like biting your nails and sucking your fingers or lips can cause malocclusions; in other words, problems biting. For their part, orthodontics procedures start around age 12, once the permanent dentition is complete. “Early procedures are occasionally carried out on patients aged eight or nine, but they involve segmented and not complete orthodontics that can gradually help to achieve correct bite and tooth eruption”, the specialist clarifies. Finally, the various studies and x-rays are what determine when to start said procedures, as they are not so dependent on age but on the level of maturity and development of the roots of the permanent teeth.

Advances in techniques

Both orthodontics and dentistry in general are supported by a range of digital technologies. In addition to the familiar traditional orthodontics, other options exist such as lingual (in the inside of the mouth) and braceless orthodontics. The latter involves the use of transparent thermoformed plates that are designed on a computer after a digital impression of the teeth is made. The movements that are to be carried out are also planned using a specialized program.

While this technique may sound simple, Giraldo restates the importance of having constant support from an expert on the subject, as orthodontics of this type work in a different way to conventional treatments. “They’re not suitable for all patients. There are highly complex cases where very controlled movements must be made, and this method doesn’t provide the desired results. Braceless orthodontics of this type function excellently and there is a good understanding of the issue, but the procedure must be performed by an expert. It’s necessary to look at each case on an individual basis, and a study and diagnostic plan must be carried out”, he emphasizes. •

It’s vital that you restart your oral health checkups with all the proper precautions and protocols, if you put them off due to the pandemic.

Some prevention alternatives

  • Braceless: uses transparent thermoformed plates that are designed on a computer following a digital scan of the teeth.
  • Lingual braces: also known as lingual orthodontics, this option involves braces positioned in the inside of the mouth, and is a viable and esthetically-pleasing treatment option.
  • Metal braces: in use for many years, this technique makes use of ligature elastic (colored rubber bands).
  • Esthetic braces: made using materials such as sapphire glass and ceramics, these braces are placed in the vestibular part of the teeth and are a more attractive version of traditional orthodontics.
  • Self-ligating braces: these involve a system that opens and closes between the wire and the brace. This reduces friction, helps movements to be made more quickly and leads to less discomfort.
  • Personalized braces: using the same teeth scanning system, these braces are personalized to individual requirements. In this way, the wires and designed and the movements are planned.