Generally, people choose to undergo Orthodontic treatment because they feel that their teeth arrangement does not look good aesthetically. But there are associated alignment issues which also affect the function and health of your teeth, correction of which is of utmost importance for the longevity of healthy dentition and proper functioning of the entire stomatognathic system. For example, bad teeth arrangement can lead to traumatic occlusion ( excessive biting force on selected teeth) which leads to teeth wear leading to dental sensitivity or periodontal problems, to begin with, later culminating into teeth abscess and loss of teeth. A bad bite can also lead to TMJ (Jaw joint) pain, clicking, headaches, earaches or night grinding of teeth. These are sometimes irreversible and may require extensive treatment which is not only time consuming but also very expensive.
The arrangement of teeth that looks good does not mean that it is also functioning well. Even a good looking dentition may have worst of functional problems which lead to teeth wear and TMJ pathology. A healthy dentition should have a healthy occlusion which is mutually protective. It means that when teeth contact each other in function, the forces of chewing are well distributed amongst teeth which prevent excessive pressures on individual teeth and their supportive periodontal tissues. This ensures that teeth stay healthy and function naturally throughout the lifespan.
Therefore, a good orthodontic treatment result should essentially ensure a good functional occlusion with mutually protective occlusal scheme and not just a good looking arrangement of teeth. It is easy for an orthodontist to align teeth in a straight line. But for a good orthodontic result with good functional occlusion in mind, correct orthodontic diagnosis and treatment planning is of utmost importance.
A good treatment planning is always done with the end result in mind. Careful analysis of orthodontic problem done by studying the dental casts, facial x rays, and intra-oral and extra-oral diagnostic images. Once the correct treatment plan is ready, treatment delivery with carefully selected orthodontic appliances is important. Correct placement of orthodontic brackets on teeth and wires to have ideal orthodontic force system is important. Accessory appliances such as TADs, fixed growth correctors, palatal expanders etc play an important role when indicated. But the unnecessary use of these accessories increases the financial burden on patients and does not contribute to overall treatment results.
The parameters that distinguish a good and an average/bad orthodontic result is related to the finishing and levelling stage ( last stage), which determines the finer aspects of teeth arrangement. Logically this stage differentiates a good orthodontist from an average one. Last few months of orthodontic treatment are dedicated to this extremely important stage which actually determines the success of the orthodontic treatment in terms of overall outcome esthetically and functionally and also in terms of treatment stability. During this even if there is little noticeable tooth movement accomplished, the overall impact on the final outcome, dental health and stability are tremendous. It is always good to be patient and compliant at the end to allow these small but beneficial changes to take place.