Types of orthodontics: which is the most suitable?

There are different types of orthodontics to solve alterations in occlusion or dental malpositions. The choice depends on each particular clinical case, the professional's recommendations and the patient's needs and financial possibilities.

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that is responsible for studying, preventing and correcting those abnormalities of shape, position or development that the jaws and dental arches have. It seeks to achieve a functional, morphological and aesthetic balance of the mouth and face.

An orthodontic treatment consists of moving the teeth or displacing the dental arches so that there is harmony in the relationship of the pieces of the same arch to each other and of the upper ones to the lower ones. With these systems, problems such as open bite, cross bite, dental crowding, prognathism and others in which the occlusion is altered can be corrected.

Types of orthodontics

There are different types of orthodontics with the same objective of correcting problems in the bite. The choice of one or the other will be based on the suggestions of the orthodontist, the clinical case and the needs and possibilities of the patient.

Functional appliances

This type of orthodontics includes various removable appliances that are designed to alter the position of muscles involved in the functions and movements of the jaw. They are often indicated during temporary or mixed dentition (when the child has primary and permanent teeth in the mouth).

At first, this type of orthodontics modifies muscle function, which over time leads to structural changes. By transforming the direction and intensity of the forces, dental displacements and even changes in the supporting bone of the teeth are generated.

The aesthetic issue is not minor in orthodontics, since it is a highly visible anatomical area.

Removable appliances

They are the devices that the patient can place and remove by himself. They can be removed to eat and sanitize, but the longer they stay in the mouth, the better the results.

This type of orthodontics acts by exerting controlled pressure on the bone or on the teeth to be mobilized. Within this category we can distinguish the removable appliances that are used to perform interceptive orthodontics and the transparent trays of invisible orthodontics, type Invisalign ®:

  • Interceptive orthodontic appliances: These are acrylic plates that use other elements, such as arches, springs or screws, to apply active mechanical forces on the structures to be modified. They are useful to guide bone growth and expand the bone, being used in the treatment of crossbites, crowding and specific dental movements. They are indicated during childhood.
  • Invisible orthodontics with clear aligners: This system uses clear plastic trays that are made specifically for each patient's mouth. They are replaced with a certain periodicity so that the forces apply and the dental movements to be achieved are produced. They are an aesthetic and comfortable substitute for braces fixed.

Fixed appliances

As the name implies, This orthodontic system is fixed to the dental elements and the patient cannot remove it. It is composed of the braces, which are the elements that adhere to the tooth surface, and the metallic arch that crosses them.

Of all the types of orthodontics, it is the only one capable of individually mobilizing each and every one of the dental elements in any direction. In general, they are used in adolescence, when tooth replacement has been completed, but the bone is still growing. Anyway, they can also be placed in adults, obtaining satisfactory results.

There are different variants of braces to choose from and are as follows:

  • Metallic: It is the best known, most widely used and also the cheapest system. They are visible to the naked eye, which can be a disadvantage for those seeking aesthetics during treatment. The braces of metal are cemented on the dental surfaces and then the metal arch is placed so that the movements of the pieces are carried out.
  • Ceramics: They are an aesthetic option because they are made of a material of the same color as the tooth. They are discreet and work in the same way as metallic ones, but can become pigmented with use.
  • Sapphire: They are transparent, so they go unnoticed, being the most aesthetic, but also the most expensive. Ideal for those who do not want their braces to show.
  • Lingual orthodontics: This type of orthodontics has the peculiarity that braces they are cemented on the inside of the teeth. They go unnoticed, so they are another aesthetic option, but their cost is usually high.
  • Damon system: It is a type of orthodontics similar to the traditional one, but that uses a special arch as a support that allows the treatment to be faster. It is the ideal choice for those seeking short-term results.

Read also: Types of braces for effective dental treatment

What can be corrected or adjusted in the denture with orthodontics?

As we already mentioned, there are different types of orthodontics to treat the various alterations that can occur in a person's bite. Treatment with these systems involves an exhaustive diagnostic process with clinical and radiographic examinations, photographs and model studies, in order to choose the best alternative.

Orthodontic treatment is the indicated option to solve any malocclusion problem, that is, those alterations that make it difficult to chew, speak, clean teeth and alter the aesthetics and self-esteem of the patient. Symptoms that the bite is affected are incorrect alignment of the teeth, difficulty or discomfort in biting, complications in speech, changes in the appearance of the face, mouth breathing or problems in the temporomandibular joint .

Problems in the alignment of the teeth

Some conditions in the occlusion can be due to the incorrect location or position of the dental elements in the mouth:

  • Dental malpositions: the dental elements are in a wrong place in the arch or the crown of the tooth is displaced from its ideal position.
  • Rotated teeth: when a tooth needs to be turned on its own axis to have the correct position.
  • Premature loss of temporary dental elements: when a piece of milk is lost prematurely, the space for the eruption of the definitive pieces must be maintained with a space maintainer. If this is not done, the neighboring teeth will occupy the place, making the correct eruption difficult.
  • Closing of diastemas: when there is an excessive space between the teeth. It is corrected with braces.
  • Crowding: when the dental elements, due to lack of space, are overlapping each other. Not only is aesthetics affected, but oral hygiene is also difficult, which poses a risk for other conditions.

Affection in the relationship of the upper jaw with the lower

On other occasions, the relationship of the jaws to each other is altered:

  • Mandibular prognathism: It occurs when the lower teeth are extended excessively forward, the upper teeth are far behind the lower teeth, or when the lower jaw is too far forward. Depending on the age at which it is corrected and the particular clinical case, expanders can be used for the upper jaw, facial masks with chin rests or combining fixed appliances with orthognathic surgery.
  • Overbite: the upper anterior teeth cover the lower teeth for more than half their height. This type of alteration is due to skeletal problems, so its treatment at an early age achieves better results.
  • Cross bite: it occurs when one or more teeth of the upper jaw are outside the lower ones when biting. In children it is easier to correct using expanders that help the growth of the upper jaw. In adults, treatment is more complicated and sometimes it is necessary to supplement with surgeries.
  • Openbite: the upper and lower teeth cannot contact and there is a space between them when biting. Depending on the age it can be corrected with expanders, braces or surgery.
  • Displaced midline: when the midline of the upper arch does not coincide with that of the lower arch. The use of braces you can correct this discrepancy.

There are many situations that may require the use of braces. The most appropriate option must be chosen between the treating professional and the patient.

Functional disorders

Sometimes orthodontics is used to correct and fix body functions in which the mouth is involved:

  • Speech problems: the correct pronunciation of certain phonemes can be affected if the relationship of the jaws or the position of the teeth is altered. Solving them with orthodontics implies improving the lost function. Complementing the treatment with speech therapists is convenient.
  • Mouth breathing: in some cases the use of orthodontics is usually necessary to correct this dysfunctional habit. The otolaryngologist and orthodontist should handle the case together.
  • Sleep apnea: Sometimes the cause of this disorder can be due to alterations in the way of biting. Thus, orthodontics can be a solution.
  • Temporomandibular joint problems: the use of appliances is usually necessary for the treatment and relief of symptoms caused by alterations in the temporomandibular joint.

It may interest you: What is an open bite and how is it corrected?

Why is it important to solve these problems with orthodontics?

As we already mentioned, with the different types of orthodontics, almost all bite problems can be solved. This is important not only for the functional and aesthetic benefits that an improvement in the smile itself brings, but also for the dental conditions that are avoided.

By correcting alterations in occlusion, problems in the temporomandibular joint and excessive wear of the teeth that occlude more are avoided. Aligning the teeth also favors proper dental hygiene, avoiding diseases such as cavities, gingivitis and periodontitis.

Now you know that the ideal smile is possible with the types of orthodontics that we discuss here. Going to the orthodontist early, from 6 years of age, allows an early diagnosis and choose the best device in the event that a treatment is necessary.