Orthodontics – Aesthetics versus Functionality

Generally, when there is talk about Orthodontics, the subject is mostly approached from the aesthetics point of view. Aesthetics is defined as the branch of philosophy dealing with taste and the study of beauty in nature and art. As such aesthetics is mainly a subjective factor.

There are a lot of patients which are happy with their smile, although between that smile and the aesthetic standard it’s a long way to go.

There are teeth modifications which bear no impact aesthetically and as such the patients are harder to motivate to even go to the specialist for a check, let alone for their need for treatment.

Why do I need Orthodontic Treatment if I’m happy with my smile?

The answer to this question is actually quite a complex one but we took this endeavor and decided to try to shed some light on the subject.

The teeth, the bones in which they articulate, the muscles that lift and lower the lower jaw and the temporomandibular joint (the joint between the lower jaw and the cranium) are part of The Dento-Maxillary System.

The Dento-Maxillary System it’s, like the name suggests, a system or a tool and like any other tool, has certain functionality parameters. When a tool is functioning outside it’s functionality parametersthere is a chance that sooner or later it will deteriorate.

Among the main functionality parameters of the Dento-Maxillary System we can count the teeth and their position as well as the jaws and their position. If the teeth or the jaws are not in the right place there is a chance that deterioration will affect parts of the Dento-Maxillary System.

This possibility of deterioration is dependent on one hand on the gravity of the present modifications and on the other hand on the personal resistance of the patient.

As such there are no guarantees that a heavy modification aspect will have advanced repercussions or that a light modification aspect will have low to none deterioration effect. Everything is evaluated statistically.

This evaluation is conducted by an Orthodontist at the first visit.

Dento-Maxillary System’s deterioration is usually happening very slow with visible evidence after many years. So usually first signs appear in the 25-35 years of age interval.

Unfortunately, in such cases, the orthodontic treatment has only a prevention role, independently of the deterioration stage of the Dento-Maxillary System. As such, once a certain type of suffering is installed, an orthodontic treatment can only stop or reduce the speed of further deterioration and not to heal what has already come to pass.

Among the deterioration forms that we can find in the Dento-Maxillary System, which have also causes correctable through orthodontic treatment we can list:

  • Accelerated teeth loss, especially associated with divers types of periodontal disease.
  • Accelerated bone loss  – with reduction in options for implant based restorations.
  • Bruxism or teeth grinding – it’s in fact an extreme form of overloading of the Dento-Maxillary System in it’s entirety which accelerates already present problems or can induce new sufferings.
  • Joint Problems  (the temporomandibular joint is positioned slightly anterior of the ear) can extend from clicking, popping or grating sounds to paint and tenderness in the face up until advanced suffering  like ankylosis.

Conclusions:

  1. A visit to the Orthodontist it’s beneficial even if the patient, regardless of the age, dose not have aesthetic issues with his teeth.
  2. An orthodontic treatment which addresses a functional issue it’s ideal to be done as early as possible to maximize the patient’s benefit.
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