Who are Orthodontists?

Ortodonti Uzmanı Kimdir?The advances in the field of dentistry that have taken place over the recent years have resulted in the specialization of dentists in different areas of dentistry. One of the most renowned areas of expertise in dentistry is orthodontics. In order to become an Orthodontist, one must complete an undergraduate program in dentistry which takes 5 years to graduate and later spend an additional 4-6 years in the faculty of orthodontics of universities to specialize in the diagnosis, prevention, interception and treatment of orthodontic and orthopedic problems that develop in the skeletal structure of the teeth, neck and head. Orthodontists monitor dentition and the growth and development of the neck and head areas, in addition to implementing treatments that fall under the scope of general dentistry. Although orthodontic treatment is widely perceived as the correction of crooked teeth, orthodontics plays an important role in the treatment of skeletal irregularities and anomalies, lip and gum fissures in infants, sleep apnea in adults (OSAS) and numerous other illnesses.   

Primary teeth start to erupt around 6 months of age. The first primary teeth erupt on the lower jaw and a few months later they start to erupt on the upper jaw. The eruption of a total of 20 primary teeth, 10 on the lower and 10 on the upper jaw are completed until the age of 3. Primary dentition stays unchanged until the ages of 6-7. At age 7, the first molar teeth erupt behind all existing primary teeth and this is followed by the eruption of the cutting teeth which replace the primary teeth in the frontal area. The thing that parents should pay attention to at these ages is the protection of the permanent teeth that are erupting. The first molar teeth are usually mistakened for primary teeth and their care is usually neglected. In order to protect these teeth, first of all proper oral health care habits must be formed and later a 'fissure sealing' procedure must be conducted by a dentist. Fissure sealing is the sealing of the natural crevices on the chewing surfaces of the molar teeth using special materials in order to prevent any deposits or debris to form in these areas. Fissure sealing is a very simple, painless and cost-effective method of preventing cavities that may form on molar teeth. It is a very simple procedure compared to the treatment of possible cavities that may form on such molar teeth. 

A common misconception of society regarding primary teeth is that due to the fact that primary teeth are temporary, it is not very important if they are brushed or not. This conception is wrong. The most important benefit of having primary teeth is that they contribute to the development of the mandibular and facial skeletal system. The chewing system, teeth, temporomandibular joint, skeleton and muscles are a whole and any missing pieces from the whole will result in inhibited development. 
It is important that primary teeth be embedded in the jawbones for the jawbones to develop properly. We can compare this to how the roots of trees prevent the erosion of soil. In the event that primary teeth are lost before their time, both the jawbones do not expand as much as they should and primary teeth cannot guide the permanent teeth as they erupt in a proper manner. Therefore, the protection of primary teeth is of utmost importance for attaining healthy permanent teeth.  

The gaps between primary teeth usually cause anxiety among parents and lead them to believe that there will be gaps between their children's permanent teeth. More often than not, these gaps close with the eruption of permanent teeth. In reality, parents should be concerned if their children's teeth are arranged tightly or if crowding problems occur.   

The most important factor that poses a threat to the health of primary teeth is the habit of nursing with feeding bottles before the child goes to sleep. Although milk is a very important nutrient for the growth of a child, parents should be wary of its tooth decaying effects. Teeth must always be cleaned after children are nursed or fed. Children that sleep while sucking on feeding bottles develop cavities referred to as `bottle feeding cavities`. The results of this behavior is characterized by the decay of teeth in a very short period of time. To prevent this, honey, sugar or other sweeteners should never be the contents of the feeding bottles and teeth should be wiped with a clean cheesecloth or a gauze bandage after feeding.  

The care of primary teeth should start as soon as they start to erupt. Mothers should wipe their children's primary teeth with a clean cheesecloth or a gauze bandage after nursing or feeding and remove waste materials from the surfaces of their children's primary teeth. Parents can begin introducing tooth brushing exercises using baby tooth brushes around the ages of 2-3. No toothpaste should be applied on the toothbrushes. The parent should hold the toothbrush and brush the child's teeth in front of a mirror. As a result, the children will learn how to brush their teeth. This goes on until the ages of 4-5. After that, children can brush their own teeth, but parents should always check their children's teeth after they brush. 
As with all disciplines of medicine, the fundamental principle of orthodontics is the prevention of the formation of irregularities. All precautions taken in order to avoid the formation of irregularities falls under the scope of preventative orthodontics.   

Some of the major treatments that fall within the scope of preventative orthodontics is the prevention of tooth decay. Primary teeth are important as they serve to reserve a place for the permanent teeth that come after them. Primary teeth should be protected as soon as they erupt in order to prevent them from decaying.

Interceptive orthodontic treatments are based on the removal of the factors that are causing irregularities in order to stop abnormalities from developing further. Elimination of factors such as a habit of thumb sucking, mouth-breathing and open bites can be provided as examples of interceptive orthodontic treatments.

The correction of existing orthodontic irregularities through the use of mobile apparatus or braces falls under the scope of corrective orthodontics. All orthodontic treatments fall under this category.  

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that all children be examined by an orthodontist at the age of 7.