“If the facts don´t fit the theory, change the facts.” This provocative quote by Einstein made me think about the importance of a solid theoretical and scientific basis for practical activities, such as orthodontics. Due to its essentially practical nature, unfortunately some theoretical principles are often minimized or neglected during clinical activities. It’s no news to anyone the growing concern about fast appliances and easy profits in our profession. Often, new specialists find themselves in a saturated and competitive market, with little time for deepening into theoretical concepts.
The need for this knowledge will be inevitable in the quest for excellence in our clinical practice, so it is important that the construction of this foundation starts from the beginning of our formation. In orthodontics, if I had to choose a topic to be disseminated among specialists, certainly this would be orthodontic biomechanics, because I believe it is the only topic that can connect all orthodontists around the world. Normally, we argue about everything: which are the best brackets, what’s the best wire, what’s the best time to initiate treatment, and so on……It´s almost impossible to reach an agreement among different philosophies, techniques or schools. Biomechanics is the only topic that escapes from all of these controversies. The reason is simple: its principles are based on immutable and precise mechanical laws.
That´s what has brought me the necessary motivation to write the present post. Here, I would like to share my opinion about the most important bibliographic references (textbooks) in which the biomechanical foundations for clinical practice can be studied. Regardless of the techniques you use, I strongly suggest you dedicate your time to learning these theoretical foundations. Certainly, they will assist you in optimizing your clinical practice. The understanding of any appliance will also be improved. After all, our specialty has been – and will always be – governed by the physical and biological laws involved in orthodontic movements.
THE BEST BOOKS ON ORTHODONTIC BIOMECHANICS:
The biomechanical foundation of clinical orthodontics (authors: Charles Burstone and Kwangchul Choy):
In my opinion, this book could be considered the “Bible of Orthodontic Biomechanics” for several reasons. First, it´s worth remembering that Dr. Burstone is considered the father of scientific biomechanics. Second, the organization of the chapters, the excellent illustrations and diagrams, together with detailed and appropriate scientific explanations turn this reference into a must-have book for orthodontists of all levels.
Biomechanics in orthodontics (authors: Giorgio Fiorelli and Birte Melsen):
This fantastic e-book from the worldwide experts Dr. Fiorelli and Dr. Birte Melsen comprises a valuable tool for those interesting in going deep into the biological and mechanical concepts of orthodontic tooth movement. The book contains thousands of videos, flash animations and clinical cases illustrations about several orthodontic appliances, especially the segmented ones, which are essential for solving more complex cases – such as those with multiple tooth loss, asymmetries and periodontal problems.
Common sense mechanics in everyday orthodontics (author: Tom Mulligan):
Professor Tom Mulligan made a great job to popularize and simplify the complex topics of orthodontic biomechanics. He explained the universal principles of biomechanics with a very didactic and practical approach, focused on the application of simple bends in order to obtain appropriate force systems, by using mainly round wires, which can be used both in the mixed or permanent dentition.
I hope you enjoy these books, and please feel free to suggest more references. We cannot transform biomechanics into a lost art.
The mission of our blog is to keep this knowledge alive. We have several videos about orthodontic biomechanics in our YouTube channel, and we hope they can help you in optimizing your techniques. For those who haven´t had the time to go deep into complex scientific articles, we also suggest our online course* – focused on teaching the fundamental concepts of bone biology and orthodontic mechanics.
*Enjoy our 50% discount on the Online Course Introduction to Orthodontic Biomechanics and reach this knowledge with updated and truly didactic material!
1. Burstone, Charles J & Choy, Kwangchul. The Biomechanical Foundation of Clinical Orthodontics. Quintessence, 2015
2. Melsen B and Fiorelli G (eds). Biomechanics in Orthodontics, A Multimedia Textbook. Italy: Libra Ortodonzia
3. Mulligan TF. Common Sense Mechanics in Everyday Orthodontics. Phoenix, AZ, Publishing, 1998, pp 1-17. (*Dr Mulligan also published several articles about his principles in the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics).