EAST GRINSTEAD SURGERY
Orthopeadic-Orthodontics can be used to permanently correct your incorrect bite, jaw misalignment, muscle function and TMJ problems
To most people the term maxilla-facial orthopaedics can be very confusing. In simple terms it means modifying the size, shape and relationship of the bones of the face and jaws which will also reduce the need for extracting teeth.
In most cases this correction can be accomplished with functional removable orthopaedic appliances as opposed to surgery. Appliances are designed to expand the upper jaw and this in turn allows the lower jaw to come forward, so that the back teeth meet in the correct position. The aim is to balance the teeth, muscles and the jaw joints so that they function efficiently.
Unfortunately whilst removable orthopaedic appliances can achieve remarkable correction of a patient’s bony problems, they do not align the teeth well. Conversely, fixed braces can align the teeth quite nicely but they have difficulty correcting problems with the underlying bony structure. It is for these reasons that your dentist may use a combination of both of these techniques to solve your problem.
Most of us understand that the term “orthodontics” means the movement and correct alignment of the teeth. This change in tooth position is usually best accomplished with fixed braces. These are sometimes known as "train tracks".
Fixed orthodontic appliances with less obvious white porcelain brackets are available.
Invisible braces are a new type of orthodontics using a series of transparent tooth aligners to straighten the teeth. However, these are only suitable in a limited number of cases.
It is necessary to understand what Orthopaedic-Orthodontic treatment involves.
Orthopaedic-Orthodontics is not just about straightening teeth. In order for the teeth to bite together properly the jaws need to be in the correct position; otherwise strain can be placed on the joints and muscles, which may lead to problems later. Crowding of the teeth usually means that there has been under-development of the jaws and this is often associated with a lower jaw that is trapped in a backwards position by a narrow upper jaw.
Your teeth, gums and temporo-mandibular joint may be affected and you may suffer from:
This first step in treatment is to fully understand the nature of the problem. In order to arrive at a correct diagnosis we will take a series of records and find out from you what your needs are. These include study casts of your teeth. Photographs of the face and teeth, X-rays of the teeth and jaws, and a single X-ray of the skill called a Cephalometric Radiograph.
Once we have all of this information, we can then diagnose the cause of the problem. It is important to understand that to properly align the dental units is often more complex than just fixing “crooked teeth”. We should not only straighten the teeth, but should also be satisfied that there is balance and harmony within the jaws, face and the temporo-mandibular joint (jaw joint).
The exact type of treatment that will be required to correct your problem will obviously depend upon the information that is gained from the diagnostic investigations and the discussion with you. However, we can divide therapy into four general categories.
In order to eliminate confusion, let’s briefly define these four concepts of treatment:
Functional Orthopaedic Therapy: A removable orthopaedic appliances are used to correct jaws that are growing incorrectly. Different forms of appliances may be required to treat different growth problems.
Extraction Therapy: The removal of permanent teeth in order to correct an orthodontic problem. This technique is used very selectively in this Practice as it is usually in the patient’s best interest to maintain all of the permanent teeth to have wide arches and full smiles.
Surgical Therapy: Just as the name implies, this procedure is reserved for those patients whose bony imbalance has progressed to the point that only surgical intervention can correct the problem.
Fixed Appliance Therapy: This is the conventional orthodontic appliance technique using fixed braces. Very small brackets are attached to each individual tooth for precise positioning of the teeth. It should be noted that quite frequently two or more of these techniques are combined in order to achieve the desired results. We will explain to you the type of treatment that can best correct your problem.
The treatment is a joint effort. It is very important that everyone involved understands his or her responsibilities in order for the treatment to be successful. Also the overall cost of the therapy is directly related to the patient’s compliance.
The Dentist – It is my role to recognize the patient’s problem and to select and apply the appropriate therapy.
The Patient – It is your responsibility to faithfully wear the appliance/s and to follow the instructions of the dentist.
The Parent – It is your responsibility to ensure that your child is wearing the appliance/s and following the appropriate instructions of the dentist.
This relationship is called the "triangle of success". When everyone does their job correctly, the results can be astounding.
Now that we have a basic understanding of the problem and the type of treatment available, let’s get down to the "nuts and bolts" of every day therapy. Most cases require less than two years of active treatment to correct. This means that discipline is important.
All appointments must be kept. If you fail to keep appointments, the treatment will take longer and be more difficult for the dentist and more expensive for the patient. When appointments and instructions are observed, the treatment goal is obtained quicker, easier and cheaper. Everyone benefits.
Don't forget the "triangle of success".