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Correction of Teeth and Jaw Disorders (Orthodontics)

Orthodontics for Children

A warm smile on a child’s face is the most desired thing for parents. And the most important part of a smile is the teeth. Lifelong preservation and improvement of teeth
requires regular check-ups. Growth of the jaw and the teeth can be examined during check-ups.

Protective and Preventive Orthodontic Treatment

For children, orthodontic treatment should start after the age of 4-5. The aim of this examination is to ensure that orthopedic disorders, incorrect swallowing and oral respiration are diagnosed during the growth of the child, and early intervention can be made when carried out when regarded necessary. Orthodontists and ear-nose-throat specialists address the problems related with the oral respiration of children and ensure that proper functioning is maintained. Treatments performed at this stage are called, “preventive treatment.” Thanks to these interventions, growth of the jaw can be guided, and trauma related tooth fractures can be prevented. In addition, it is ensured that permanent teeth grow in a proper way.
At the ages from 6 to 9, with the change of the front teeth, permanent teeth seem comparatively larger than deciduous teeth. They look more normal once other permanent teeth are formed inside the mouth over time. The crowding of the front teeth at the first stage is generally a physiological problem. It can disappear on its own with the formation of other teeth. However, regular check-ups are necessary.
Elimination of orthopedic problems related to incorrect swallowing, constant oral respiration and bad habits (sucking fingers, biting on pencils), which are the residues of the infancy period, requires preventive treatment. There are many apparatuses utilized in the prevention of these habits. With preventive treatment by orthodontists using proper apparatuses, orthodontic treatment during the period of permanent dentition can be prevented, or it can be ensured that this treatment will be less intricate.

Orthodontics for Adults

While orthodontic treatment used to be applied on children, advancement of technology has made it possible to be applied on adults as well. Changes in the perception of beauty have increased the need for orthodontic treatment in adults. Display of dental braces, which is the biggest drawback for adults in terms of aesthetics, is no longer an issue thanks to advanced techniques. Transparent braces, arch braces and transparent plaques make it possible to apply orthodontic treatments on adults without compromising the natural and aesthetic look.
Transparent plaques are good treatment options for adults. Desired teeth movement can be obtained using plaques as they are worn all day except when eating. Problems associated with traditional dental braces, such as piercing of the skin, breakage of braces and wounds are no longer an issue. Transparent plaques have been very popular among patients as a treatment option. In later ages, when orthodontic treatment is not sufficient for the treatment of developmental problems
associated with the skeleton structure, orthognathic treatment (surgery on the jaw) can be applied. Orthodontic treatment is also applied before and after orthognathic surgery. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia by a maxillofacial surgeon or a plastic surgeon, and developmental problems are treated. With the changes in the perception of aesthetics and achievements in the field, orthognathic treatment has become more and more popular.

Treatments for the Temporomandibular (Jaw) Joint, Grinding and Clenching of the Teeth

The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is a joint that acts like a knuckle connecting the lower jaw to the skull. It has a significant role in functions, such as chewing and eating. Although TMJ related problems generally go away on their own, it is recommended to have a specialist assess these problems. Symptoms of TMJ related problems include pain in the jaw and ears, difficulty in opening and closing of the mouth, and a clicking sound that occurs when chewing food. Computerized tomography and MR are utilized in the diagnosis of the problem, and splints are often used in the treatment. Duration of the daily use of splints depends on the severity of the problem.
Bruxism is defined as the, “grinding and clenching of the teeth at night or daytime”. Researchers who study the frequency of bruxism have stated that this parafunctional habit affects children as well as adults. Many studies indicate that the frequency of this disorder among the population is 20%.
Problems include missing teeth, erupted teeth, failed restorations, excessive tubercle curve and other occlusal disorders. Occlusal disorders affect periodontal pressure receptors and cause hyperactivity in the masticatory (chewing) muscles. While the mechanism of the pathophysiological effect on bruxism has not yet been fully explained, it is known that sleep bruxism is affected by the central and autonomous nervous system that include the center related with jaw functions and sleep.
It is thought that bruxism is an important etiological factor in the formation and acceleration of various problems, such as abnormal tooth abrasion, hypertrophy in masticatory muscles, fractures/failures in dental restorations and implants, pain in the masticatory system, headaches, periodontal diseases and temporomandibular diseases (TMR).
Treatment of bruxism involves use of solid and patient-specific splints that are adapted in a way to fully contact the teeth in the opposite jaw. Splints that are generally applied on the upper jaw prevent contact of the teeth. However, splints are not adequate on their own; in addition stress treatment, muscle relaxants and renewal of faulty restorations are necessary.