Orthodontics is a dental specialty focused on the diagnostics and treatment of dental and skeletal malocclusions.
The aim of an orthodontic treatment is to establish a harmonious position of teeth, the maxilla and the mandible with an esthetically pleasing result and correct masticator function.
In some cases of malocclusion, a first phase of treatment is often started with removable appliances. These aim at improving the skeletal relationships that could make easier a second phase of treatment with fixed appliances.
A fixed appliance is composed of bands (which surround like a ring the molars) and brackets (small square metal items that are attached to the external surface of the teeth). There are some types of brackets that are less visible than the metallic ones. These are white or transparent and are made of ceramic. There are also some bracket systems that are bonded on the internal surfaces of the teeth (lingual orthodontics). In some specific cases, transparent aligners can be used to correct mild malocclusions.
A perfect hygiene is an absolute requirement during the orthodontic treatment.
Once teeth have been ideally placed with the orthodontic treatment, it is necessary to keep them in this position. Similar to a memory effect, orthodontically displaced teeth have the tendency to return to their initial positions. The final phase of the orthodontic treatment (called retention) aims at granting the stability of the final result. This is obtained by means of fixed retainers which are bonded in the lingual surfaces of the upper and lower teeth and/or by removable appliances used temporarily.
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