Orthodontics: treating muscles, bone, and teeth.

Many people think that orthodontics is just about straightening the teeth, but there are other things to consider.  The things we look at in our office are 1) muscle function 2) bone structure and 3) tooth alignment.  Of these three things muscle function is the strongest force of the three, then bone structure, and the teeth are actually the least important factor in determining orthodontic treatment.

Muscles attach to t he bone and therefore exert forces on bone and can influence how the teeth align.  For example, a space between the two front teeth is usually caused be a strong muscle attachment from the upper lip to the the maxillary bones.  Unless you treat t he muscle issues properly, it is difficult to get this space to close or keep it closed once the orthodontic treatment is complete.   So muscle function needs to be evaluated as a component of orthodontic treatment.

The teeth are encased in bone and so the bone structure has an influence on orthodontic treatment.  Also, the relationship of the upper jaw to the lower jaw is a major consideration of any orthodontic treatment.  A side view Xray, a cephalometric xray, helps determine that relationship.  The bone also sets limits as to how far we are able to move the teeth.

The tooth alignment is what most people are concerned about, but must be done in coordination with proper muscle function and bone structure considerations.  Function wins over esthetics (appearance) every time.  Also, rotated teeth have a tendency to want tor revert back to their original alignment after the orthodontic treatment is finished.

These are just some things to think about when considering orthodontic treatment.


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