Sunday, 26 June 2011

Birte Melsen: How has the spectrum of orthodontics changed over the past decades?

The Journal of Orthodontics of this month has invited Prof. DrOdont, B.Melsen from the university of Aarhus Denmark, to write an article about orthodontics today.

This article is in a form of a lecture. Dr. Melsen talks about almost every aspect of orthodontics today.

From "fast food orthodontics", self-ligating, "intelligent wires and brackets", "no bending orthodontics" to individualized treatments for adults with periodontal and degenerative diseases. TADs and digital orthodontics (digital casts, computerized treatment planing) are a field of interest for the future, and push the limits of orthodontics according to Prof Melsen.

Along the caustic comments about the industry, the marketing of new wires and brackets, it is reminded to everyone, that orthodontics is all about treatment planning and goals orientation. There is no cook book in orthodontics, and this article is certainly worth of your time.

A short abstract of the article follows:
"Three aspects have had a significant impact on orthodontics during the last few decades: the appliances being used, the anchorage being used and finally the distribution of patients being treated.

Firstly, the marketing of appliances is increasingly leading the orthodontist to outsource important aspects of treatment such as wirebending and bracket positioning. Brackets and wires are being presented as the solution to all problems and metaphysical terms such as ‘intelligent design,’ ‘working brackets’ and ‘intelligent wires’ are dominating advertising and reducing the impact of evidence-based treatment approaches.

Secondly, the introduction of skeletal anchorage has potentially widened the spectrum of orthodontics, allowing for treatments that could not be done with conventional appliances. Biomechanical knowledge is, however, mandatory if we agree that the system should not be abused.

Thirdly, the orthodontic population comprises an increasing number of adult patients, many of whom are characterized by a degenerated dentition. The treatment of these patients requires a thorough knowledge not only of biomechanics but also of the reaction of the periodontal tissues to various types of loading. They can be treated only with custom-made appliances adapting the force systems and magnitude to the patient-specific treatment goal.

In summary, the orthodontic world is being split between ‘appliance-driven fast-food orthodontics’ where the results to a large extent are dependent on both growth and function and ‘orthodontist-driven’ ‘slow-food’ treatments attempting to push the limits of the possible in relation to complicated problems and reversal of degeneration in adult patients. The latter treatments are performed with individualized appliances adapting the force system to the patient.

prof, DrOdont, DDS, Birte Melsen"

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