FDI Validates Health Role of Orthodontics

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FDI validates the role of orthodontics in improving health and well-being

A policy statement published by the FDI (Federation Dentaire Internationale) has been welcomed by Dr Asif Chatoo, founder of the London Lingual Orthodontic Clinic and the UK’s leading lingual orthodontic provider.

Dr Chatoo praises the FDI for the analytical approach it takes to the health benefits of orthodontic treatments in: ‘Malocclusion in Orthodontics and Oral Health’ [1].

Malocclusion is the technical term for a poor bite and one aspect of oral health, also defined by the FDI [2]. According to the FDI, there can be negative impacts on your health when your teeth are not aligned or when your jaws do not meet well.

The FDI statement on malocclusion identifies the problems that can occur, including:

• Gingivitis – gum problems
• A build-up of plaque, leading to dental decay
• Damage to other teeth in the jaw from a poor bite – weakening tooth enamel and potentially causing decay

A poor bite can also cause damage to the tissues of the mouth, leading to discomfort. Importantly, the FDI policy statement says: “By considering malocclusion as not only an aesthetic problem, orthodontic treatment can prevent and intercept other oral diseases and improve the quality of life.”

Dr Chatoo agrees. He said: “In essence, straighter teeth protect against serious conditions because the bite and the smile are critical to well-being, not just aesthetically, but functionally and holistically too.”

He went on to comment on the use of the word cosmetic to promote orthodontics. “In my opinion, the word cosmetic is over-used in relation to orthodontics. It’s true that treatment leads to aesthetic improvements, but far more important are the health and well-being benefits identified by the FDI, not least the widely reported improvement in self-confidence.

“It is significant that the British Orthodontic Society website does not make any use of the word cosmetic on its extensive educational website, except in reference to limited treatment orthodontics (LTO), which are marketed for cosmetic benefits.”

Oral health has been defined by the FDI in the following all-encompassing way: “…multi-faceted and includes the ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow and convey a range of emotions through facial expressions with confidence and without pain, discomfort and disease of the craniofacial complex.”

Dr Chatoo adds: “Bringing together these statements with what I see in my clinic, there is no doubt that improving patients’ smiles and bites has a substantial impact on well-being. It’s my belief that orthodontics should not be categorised as a cosmetic procedure but as integral to health.”

To read Dr Chatoo's blog on this topic, click HERE.

References:

1 https://www.fdiworlddental.org/resources/policy-statements/malocclusion-in-orthodontics-and-oral-health

2 https://www.fdiworlddental.org/oral-health/fdi-definition-of-oral-health