What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis, prevention and correction of malpositioned teeth and jaws, as well as with modifying facial growth (dentofacial orthopedics). Malocclusions (incorrect bites), may be the result of incorrect positioning of the teeth or incongruent dental arches. Thus, dental appliances (orthodontic or orthopedic) are used to correct anomalies through the movement of teeth and bones.

The orthodontic treatments in our clinic are performed and supervised by Mariana Păcurar, DMD-PhD, Professor in Orthodontics and Head of Department at the Faculty of Dental Medicine within the University of Medicine in Târgu Mureș and Livia Hollmann, DMD.

Orthodontic treatment with fixed appliances

What is an orthodontic treatment with fixed appliances? Dental braces and retainers are devices used in orthodontics by means of which pressure is exerted on the teeth to realign them in the correct position and to change the dynamics and the relationship between them, thus obtaining a functional and aesthetically pleasing result.

In the case of children, during the teeth growth process, a dental appliance can correct developmental problems of the maxillary bones, dental arches, the disproportion between the size of the teeth and the widths of the dental arches. It can also serve as a pre-eruption guidance of the permanent teeth, that ensures proper alignment, so that when all the permanent teeth have erupted, there will be no need or a minimal need for other corrections. Another major problem that dental appliances can solve during the dental growth period is the breaking of vicious habits, bone healing and the fixing of dental problems that they have caused (i.e. finger sucking, lower lip biting, improper resting tongue posture, mouth-breathing etc.)

In adults, a dental appliance can properly align incorrect tooth position, as well as the occlusion (bite), but it cannot correct serious bone abnormalities. In these rare cases, it acts as a preparatory step for the patient, taken before undergoing a surgical correction of a major bone incongruence, at some point during the orthodontic treatment.

All aspects will be explained to you in detail during the consultation. You will be made aware of all the details and available options, so that you can make the most appropriate decision before beginning your treatment.

Orthodontic treatment with removable appliances

Mobile orthodontic appliances (plates) can be applied and removed by the patient from the oral cavity. They are made by a dental technician, following the impression of the patient’s dental arches, taken by the orthodontist. Mobile appliances consist of an acrylic component, that partly covers the patient’s gums, and metallic hooks, that partly cover the teeth. Sometimes, they may also include a screw, activated by means of a key, according to the instructions given by the orthodontist. These appliances are meant for correcting several types of dental anomalies, especially in children, during the dental growth period. Such an orthodontic treatment can only be deemed appropriate by an orthodontic specialist, after consultation. Mobile orthodontic appliances should be worn according to the instructions received from the doctor. In most cases, the wear time exceeds a period of 10-12 hours per day, to achieve the desired goal. The necessary steps of a proper mobile appliance hygiene are as follows:

  • every evening, before bedtime, the appliance must be washed with a toothbrush (solely used for this purpose);
  • the appliance can be washed with toothpaste or liquid soap and then thoroughly rinsed with water – it will then be reapplied and kept in overnight;
  • after each removal, the appliance must be rinsed with water, to clean out traces of saliva;
  • once or twice a week, specially-designed, effervescent pills can be used for cleaning the appliance (these are sold in pharmacies and must be used according to their instructions);
  • when removing the mobile appliance, after rinsing it with water, we advise you to keep it in the box it came with, given to you when the appliance was mounted by the orthodontist;
  • do not envelop the mobile appliance in a napkin and do not put it into your pockets, because it might get lost!

On average, a treatment with dental mobile appliances lasts approximately 1 year. The duration can extend until the proposed objective is reached. During the treatment period, the patient should usually check in with the orthodontist every 4 to 6 weeks.