What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a science that deals with the study, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of deformities affecting the shape, position, relationship and function of dento-maxillofacial structures. It is the art of preventing, diagnosing and correcting possible irregularities and keeping teeth healthy and happy by using and controlling different types of forces.
The desire to correct crowded, irregular and protruding teeth dates back to ancient times as there is evidence that efforts were made to resolve such deformities as early as 800 BC. Well-designed early orthodontic braces have been brought to light at Greek and Etruscan archeological finds.
The teeth are anchored into the jaws (maxilla and mandible) by bony structures, the alveolar process. These structures must be in complete harmony so that the mouth can perform all functions properly.
Orthodontics is divided into 2 main areas:
- Children: To asses development of the maxillodental structures.
- Adults: To assess the appearance of the alveolar bone.
Having an attractive smile can have an enormous impact on human relationships, especially on facial attractiveness, with the mouth and teeth playing such an important role. A weak smile, however, with crooked or gapped teeth or a face with too small or large a chin can crush a person's self-esteem and self-confidence, causing them to cover their mouth when smiling, refuse to have their photo taken, etc.