Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry dealing with the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of maxillofacial abnormalities and malocclusions. Orthodontics offers various services to patients for the treatment of malpositioned teeth and smile design. Despite the focus of orthodontics on the treatment of maxillofacial abnormalities and malocclusions, few services can also be provided for cosmetic purposes. Beauty is considered an important issue for many people because of its remarkable effect on their social and psychological status, but all orthodontic services are not performed for cosmetic purposes. An orthodontist applies orthodontic treatments to ensure the health and proper functioning of the oral cavity, the gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory system, speaking, etc.
Orthodontics and proper food chewing
Some orthodontic services aim to improve food chewing and the gastrointestinal tract. Malpositioned teeth can affect the health of the whole gastrointestinal tract. When teeth fail to properly chew foods, other components of the gastrointestinal tract cannot normally digest and absorb them. Therefore, having well-positioned and aligned teeth can greatly contribute to the proper digestion of foods.
When a patient suffers from maxillomandibular abnormality (e.g. the mandible is slightly forward and the maxilla is slightly backward), the mandible and maxilla can never fit together properly. As a result, foods will not be chewed well endangering the health of the gastrointestinal tract. Orthodontics can help individuals to completely chew foods by correcting the position of teeth and jaws.
Orthodontics and oral health
Food particles may get stuck between crowded and malpositioned teeth and cannot be easily removed exposing the oral cavity to tooth decay and periodontal disease. It is hence very important to maintain good oral hygiene even during orthodontic treatments. Orthodontic services can close the gap between teeth or correct and align crowded teeth so that they can be easily cleaned after each meal to protect teeth against decay.
Orthodontics and improvement of TMJ function
The TMJ moves when we open or close our jaws. The misalignment of the maxilla and the mandible can threaten the health of TMJ. Orthodontic treatments can align jaws and return them to their normal position.
Orthodontics and correct pronunciation of words
People with misaligned jaws cannot correctly pronounce words and those with a protruded mandible cannot easily speak. Such individuals cannot correctly pronounce “S” or “Sh” or fail to pronounce some other letters and words. Such pronunciation problems can be solved by orthodontic treatments.
Orthodontics and mouth breathing
It is worth mentioning that mouth breathing can cause maxillofacial abnormalities. When patients suffering from both mouth breathing and a maxillofacial abnormality visit an orthodontist, they will be referred to an otorhinolaryngologist to first treat mouth breathing. Despite the placement of the nasal cavity next to the oral cavity, humans normally breathe through their noses, not their mouths. Mouth breathing can directly affect jaws causing maxillofacial abnormalities. The orthodontic correction of jaws helps patients to easily and correctly breathe through their noses.
Best time for undergoing orthodontic treatments
Orthodontic treatments performed at the right time can produce the most favorable result. The best time for orthodontic treatments is the age of 8-9 years. Some people wrongly assume that orthodontic treatments should be done when all permanent teeth are fully erupted and grown. It is recommended that children begin orthodontic treatments before puberty when not all teeth are fully grown because it would be more difficult to correct the position of jaws as children get older.