In our time we can change our body as well as pleased. For some, the transformation of appearance is a way to become more self-confident, but for some, it is a kind of game. However, the reasons for “working on oneself” can be not only aesthetic – for example, there are a number of orthodontic indications for bite correction. The bite is the ratio of the upper and lower dentition with full closing of the teeth. With a pathological occlusion, the load on the teeth is unevenly distributed, which in some cases is fraught with not only grinding and loss of teeth but also a distortion of the face oval, headaches, and other abnormalities in the work of the temporomandibular system.
Modern means are special orthodontic constructions – removable and non-removable. Removable structures include plates, mouth guards, trainers, and fixed ones – bracket systems. Nowadays, they are given to adults, although many such a step is not easy, regardless of age – a little later we will have material where different characters will tell how they live with braces and whether the result is worth it. The personal experience of others can support those who are still in thought or have already decided on a bite correction. However, in everything related to medical intervention, there is no universal advice.
The plates were invented by the French dentist Pierre Fauchard, who is considered to be the first orthodontist. In 1728, he made a tooth straightening plate – a thin strip of silver that was attached to the teeth with a wire and silk ligature. Since then, the plates have become more technologically advanced and now represent a metal structure on a plastic base for the upper or lower jaw, which is fixed on the teeth using special hooks – clasps. Unlike bracket systems, the plates do not move the teeth, but only hold them in a given position, therefore they have a rather limited area of application. Plates are installed mainly in children and adolescents – during the period of active formation of the jaws, and in adults – to consolidate the result achieved by other correction methods (for example, a bracket system).
Mouth guards, or aligners, have been successfully used for several decades to correct bite anomalies. Mouthguards are made of transparent polymer material, therefore they are not very noticeable on the teeth. Most often, they are used to correct the bite in adolescence. For adults, as in the case of plates, aligners can be installed as a “final touch” in the treatment of other methods. To correct occlusion anomalies, 24-hour mouth guards are used: they are worn for at least 21-22 hours, otherwise, the results of the correction will have to wait a very long time. After the end of the bite correction, in the so-called retention period, when the effect of alignment is fixed, night trays are prescribed. They are also used to protect teeth against bruxism – the so-called grinding teeth. On sale, there are standard mouth guards, made according to the average parameters of the jaw, and thermoplastic ones, which soften under the influence of hot water and solidify in the desired shape directly on the jaw. Neither option is capable of effective correction of significant curvatures; this requires individual aligners.
Trainers are made of elastic silicone, and in matters of bite correction, they are also most in demand for adolescents – the largest group of patients. Trainers put on the jaw during a night’s sleep, and also in the daytime – as a rule, within 2-4 hours. In children, trainers can stimulate or slow down the growth of the jaw, change the width of the palate and the shape of the jawbones, in adults, they can eliminate excessive pressure of the maxillofacial muscles that causes abnormal development of the bite, and thus maintain the result of treatment with other methods. Besides, trainers are used to working on minor recurrences of curvature of the teeth after correction, to bring the tongue into the correct position, to form nasal breathing, and even to control the effects of various harmful habits associated with dental health (for example, the habit of sucking fingers or chewing on various objects). An important indication for the use of this type of structure is, among other things, the impossibility of using plates and bracket systems.
The so-called starter trainer is the first to be used in treatment: the soft and flexible design allows for quick adaptation. The final trainer made of a harder material works harder on the teeth. To consolidate the results after an active period of treatment, a retention trainer is used, which just helps to prevent relapse. The period of treatment by trainers, as in other cases, depends on the indications and can last from six months to several years.
With the help of these fixed structures, invented in the 1920s, many malocclusions can be corrected. The bracket system exerts moderate pressure on the wall of the hole in which the tooth is located, as a result of which there is a slight divergence of the bone, and the tooth will begin to change its position. Correction can take an average of one and a half to two years or more. Sometimes, according to the results of the correction, the installation of a special retainer in the form of plates, a mouthguard, or a trainer is indicated so that the tooth does not return to its previous position. Some doctors argue that the age of the patient practically does not matter (provided that the jawbones and gums are in a healthy state), but for children under 10–12 years of age, while the root system is not fully formed, the installation of braces is not indicated.