BRACE yourself for Orthodontics!
An orthodontist can be defined through medical terminology as a specialist in the straightening of teeth. The tasks of the typical orthodontists include “assessing, diagnosing, and correcting malocclusions”, incorrect positioning of the teeth when biting (bad bites), with the use of various orthodontic appliances, but without oral or maxillofacial surgery, the job of an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. (Four Seasons Dental-Orthodontics and Orthodontists)The importance of treating malocclusions lies in the consequences of not correcting bad bites. These tentative problems due to malocclusions include mouth breathing, which leads to xerostomia and inadequate air insulation and filtering, as well as “uncomfortable and harmful biting/chewing, speech difficulties, and an unattractive smile”. (Times Health guide-Malocclusions of Teeth) A particularly significant reason to correct malocclusions is the prevention of tooth decay, in that many malocclusions, such as crowding, make the teeth cleaning process much more difficult. With the skill and correct actions of the learned orthodontist, such problems can be avoided or solved. One might ask how the orthodontist gains the knowledge to efficiently and correctly assess and correct malocclusions. Proper training and education would be the appropriate answer to that query. The educational requirements for a licensed orthodontist include four years of undergraduate schooling (which would consist partially of required classes for graduate school) and a Bachelor’s degree, a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM) granted after 4 years at a dental school, and two to three years of specialized orthodontist training taken in a post-doctoral orthodontics program. After passing the National Board Dental Examinations, state certification can be granted. Optional extra certification includes licensing by either the National Board of Orthodontics, which requires meeting “continuing education requirements,” or the American Board of Orthodontics, which requires “periodic recertification exams.” (Orthodontist Training Program and Requirements) Orthodontists can expect a positive job outlook; increase in orthodontic job opportunities in the field is predicted to raise “20% in the ten year period from 2008 to 2018”. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) The salary range for an orthodontist often depends on their area of occupation: Orthodontists in a hospital or health center setting earn anywhere from “$25,000 to $100,500” while an orthodontist in a joint orthodontics-dental enterprise typically earns about “$93,400 to $196,900.” The earnings of orthodontist in private practice can range from “$100,400 to $202,200.” (Orthodontist Salary Information) PART II: Orthodontics: Assessment and Treatment of Malocclusions in detail The first section of the orthodontic procedure is the assessment and classification of the malocclusion. There are several various classification systems, one of the most prominent being that of “Angle classification”, belonging to the father of modern orthodontics, Edward Angle and is based generally on the articulation of the mandibular and maxillary first pre-molars. (Doctor Knows-Malocclusions)There are three classes in this system: Class 1 Malocclusion- the dental arches correctly articulate and the molar alignment is proper, but there is often crowding: “when teeth are placed too close together and overlapping,” spacing: “when there are large and uneven spaces between the teeth,” rotation: “when a tooth turns or tips out of its normal position,” and transposition: “when a tooth erupts in one another’s place.” (Web Dental Office- Teeth Malocclusions) In Class 2 Malocclusions, the maxillary incisors excessively overlap the mandibular incisors, causing what is most commonly known as an overbite. Although in normal human dentition there is a natural overbite, an extensive one becomes a...
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