Orthodontics aims to correct abnormal alignment of the jaws (dentofacial orthopedics) and teeth (orthodontics), in order to readjust the equilibration between the osseous bases to achieve the correct occlusal position. This ensures that the development of the dental arches achieves the correct functional and aesthetic objective.
Misaligned dental arches can significantly affect the chewing, profanation, respiration and swallowing functions. Well-aligned teeth are also easier to clean, which prevents the formation of cavities and gum problems.
The appliances used can be either removable(a plate or gutters) or fixed(multi-metal or ceramic fasteners). They exert gentle continuous forces, which can vary in intensity, over a relatively long period of time:
- either under dento-facial orthopedics, and applied onto the osseous bases (maxilla and mandible), used for very young children,
- or, under orthodontics, and applied directly onto the teeth, can be used for any age (i.e. for children, adolescents or adults).
After a course of treatment, a retaineris necessary to maintain the optimal position of the teeth and jaws.
In adults, and even in adolescents, teeth can also be aligned through use of a range of aligners (removable aligners), which are very discreet and are made to measure. (Invisalign).
Most of the time, malpositioned teeth must be treated early, even in the case of baby teeth (interceptive orthodontics). This is why orthodontic examination in young children is so important.