Art and Science of aligning human teeth

Dr. Akshay Gupta
“Rome wasn’t built in a day” is an adage attesting to the need of time to create great things. And it’s true. Nothing great comes without hard work and time dedication. The proverb has the meaning that we can never achieve truly great in life within little time. The Art and Science of aligning human teeth and jaws and creating well balanced faces by harnessing natural potential (of remodelling) of human bones is no different an example.
Whereas many of the dental treatments can be done in single sitting, but in orthodontics a single patient is handled/supervised/treated for many years. Even after past two decades of 21st century, the mystery of Orthodontics is unrevealed to general dentists and other specialities of dentistry, leave apart the layman or other medical specialities. It takes time, but moving the teeth into improved position and guiding the growth of jaws is a prodigious contribution of Orthodontics for overall dental health.
Your first consultation with Orthodontist
This is the time when you can have detailed discussion with your Orthodontist regarding all aspects of your treatment. On your verbal consent, dental and medical histories are recorded by your Orthodontist which is followed by clinical examination and record taking, which include; digital or plaster impressions of your teeth. Specialised radiographs (X-Rays). Set of standardized intra and extra oral photographs, and additional records, wherever necessary.
Once you leave Orthodontic office, actual job of your Orthodontist starts, these records are carefully evaluated/measured to find the aetiology and to frame the best treatment plan to provide not only best aesthetics, but also functional improvement. Often both goals are accomplished simultaneously.
Your Second Consultation
Once your records are evaluated, your Orthodontist will suggest personalized treatment plan/plans and different appliances that can be used to alleviate your present condition. Since it’s an elective treatment, have a thorough discussion with your Orthodontist for selecting a treatment plan that best suits your schedule/lifestyle and budget
Once the line of treatment you and your Orthodontist have decided for you, digital or plaster moulds may have to be repeated for creation of requisite appliances.
Journey and commitment towards Orthodontic treatment
Once you have decided to undergo makeover of your teeth, and have scheduled appointments for the same, and while in the orthodontic office
“Doctor ? When will I be done?”
This is probably the most asked question in an Orthodontic office.
Orthodontic treatment usually have many phases, and can have a cumulative treatment duration lasting many years , but when we take into consideration only about typical Contemporary Fixed Orthodontic Phase , it usually lasts for approximately two to three years depending upon the severity of malocclusion and the following factors.
Adherence to appointment schedule and orthodontist’s guidance
Every appointment during your treatment is important; as this is the time your Orthodontist will make the adjustments needed for your treatment. Failure to follow your Orthodontist’s guidance about proper appliance usage/care can result extended duration of your treatment.
The severity of your condition
Severity of your condition is best judged by your Orthodontist, crooked or crowded teeth which are generally perceived by patients as severs cases, usually takes less time than some other malocclusion which you might think as simple to correct. The less severe is your current condition, the shorter your treatment time.
Oral hygiene and diet
Regular brushing, flossing and avoiding hard, sticky and sugary food helps to achieve Orthodontic results in desired time.
Sometimes you may begin to see improvement of your front teeth, well before your anticipated perception, or visa-versa. However, this does not mean that your treatment should end early or is stagnated. Your Orthodontists goal is to create long lasting alignment of all teeth which may take its due course of time.
Your age
Whereas younger patients have less dense bones and their facial structure is still growing and moving, tooth moment may takes less time or may requires less force to guide the teeth to the proper alignment, but that may not assure you of faster finish of treatment. Early treatment widens the scope of Orthodontic care, therefore while opting treatment at tender age may help you to get more benefits of Art and Science of Orthodontics, but it may not help you to get free of Orthodontic care in shorter time
Selecting the right Doctor for Braces
Orthodontists and Dentists both help patients improve their oral health, but in different ways. Dentistry is a speciality that is limited to teeth and gums, while Orthodontics, is the first speciality of dentistry, and has a broader scope of correcting bites, occlusion and the straightness of teeth with help of braces. One important difference is that while all Orthodontists were once Dentists, not all Dentists are Orthodontists. In fact, a dental graduate has to undergo an additional three years of full time study to specialise in the field of Orthodontics thus making him the right choice for you to get lifetime of a better dental health and straight teeth.
(The author is Professor & Head Department of Orthodontics Indira Gandhi Government Dental College)