The Orthodontic Appliance
Among orthodontic appliances traditional fixed braces, self-ligating devices and dental splints can be distinguished. A characteristic feature of these pieces of equipment is that they apply a precise level of pressure against the teeth during the entire course of treatment, improving thus their position in the oral cavity.
The fixed orthodontic brace is secured permanently to the teeth of the patient. Throughout the entire course of the treatment, the device applies a precise level of pressure against the teeth, improving their position in the oral cavity. This fact is of utmost importance as the fixed orthodontic device does not serve solely the purpose of enhancing the aesthetics, but it improves the overall health condition of teeth as well. The aesthetics are naturally important, and many patients visit the orthodontist because of this very reason; the teeth are our business card and we want to make sure they look immaculate. Repairing malocclusion can improve our well-being and boost confidence. However, it is important to bear in mind that even teeth are, above all, healthier teeth; it is easier to treat them, take care of their hygiene as well as spot lesions.
Every orthodontic treatment at our surgery is preceded by a medical consultation during which the stomatologist conducts an interview with the patient. The aim of the interview is to learn about the patient’s expectations regarding the treatment as well as to find out the reason why they have decided to come to our surgery in the first place.After the consultation, it is necessary to take panoramic and cephalometricradiograph images; sometimes computed tomography may be required. During the subsequent stage teeth impressions, which will be used to build orthodontic models, are taken. The stomatologist takes as well pictures of the patient’s face, profile and teeth. An important element of the diagnosis is an examination of the temporo-mandibular joint. The very next step of the process is smile analysis anddesign with the implementation of the most efficient method that has been accepted by the patient. Based on all the information gathered, the specialist will prepare the treatment plan and introduce it to the patient. If the traditional fixed brace is the most desired solution, teeth preparation will be the next step to take.
In order to fix an orthodontic appliance onto the teeth, they first have to be treated and cleaned. Having removed all potential instances of the lesion, the patient’s teeth undergo hygienisation. Scaling (mechanical, chemical or laser) removes the scale. The sandblasting (high-pressure stream of water mixed with cleaning dust) penetrates cracks that could not have been reached during the previous process and removes the remainder of thedental deposits. Polishing (teeth cleaning with a special polishing paste)removes whatever might be left after the previous treatments, and fluoridation strengthens the enamel. The objective of the treatments mentioned above is to bring the teeth to the state which allows fixing of the appliance.
Conventional fixed metal appliances consist of brackets, which are secured separately on every tooth, and an arch- a metal wire- which links all the brackets together. The archwire remains within the brackets thanks to special colourful pieces of rubber (ligatures). The metal brackets in this kind of appliance are usually cast from a singlepiece of surgical stainless steel, which makes them exceptionally durable.They are positioned on the lip-side of the tooth.
At our surgery, we also use fixed aesthetic braces. These devices are made in a similar way as the traditional metal appliances, however, the difference between these two types is that the discussed model of brace hasits aesthetic brackets made either of crystal, porcelain orcomposite material. We focus on aesthetic appliances because their brackets are the most durable type, which does not lose neither their colour nor shape. What is more, their colour matches closely the colour of the enamel.
The next group is self-ligating appliances, and it consists of two subgroups: the self-ligating metal appliances and aesthetic appliances of the same kind. The metal devices, as the name itself suggests, are made of metal and they provide a good solution for patients who value functionality but work with a limited budget. The other kind is aesthetic self-ligating braces- ceramic appliances whose colourmatches closely the colour of the teeth.
The advantage of the self-ligating device is that the wire, which is placed inside, is not held in the brackets through the ligatures, but it is secured there thanks to a special built-in flap. The upper hand of this solution is that the constant friction, which occurs between the ligatures and brackets, is removed. The appliance functions more effectively, faster and the time span between the check-up visits at the surgery is extended. Also, the duration of treatment is reduced. Additional benefit following this type of appliance as opposed to the traditional device is better hygiene of the oral cavity; fever pieces of food end up stuck under the flaps of the device.
How long does the device have to be worn?
The answer to this question depends on the nature of malocclusion the patient has and the type of appliance used. Minor instances of malocclusion are treated a lot faster. Similarly, the treatment occurs quicker if we are straightening only one dental arch. Usually, when working with both dental arches, the treatment lasts approximately two years. During this time it is important to attend regular follow-up appointments which allow the orthodontist to check whether the appliance still fits properly and does it apply the desired level of pressure against the teeth. If any adjustments are required, they will be made immediately by the specialist.