The orthotics and Prosthetics practitioners combine physical skills coming from science, art and technical expertise to fit, fabricate and install orthopedic braces (or other artificial limbs) for painful or debilitating disorders. Most frequently those who practice O&P are drawn to it due to a personal interest or exposure to it through their employment in other health care fields. O&P practitioners have the knowledge, skills and expertise to fit, manufacture and install braces and other artificial limbs when the client's need is acute. They may work either in an orthodontist's office or in a dentist's office. When they are employed by the dental office, the job duties would include preparing the patient for the procedure and ensuring that his mouth is open for fitting of the braces.
O&P practitioners and prosthetists use three types of prosthetic devices when fitting and installing prosthetic limbs and orthopedic devices: Invisalign, InSite and Sublingual. Both traditional and modern orthodontics utilize these three types of prosthetic devices. Invisalign is the name given to a type of cosmetic orthopedic device which is designed to provide comfortable alignment to teeth and bite for patients with a variety of dental conditions, such as snoring, misaligned mandible, crowded or elongated teeth, and excessive bite pressure. The Invisalign system takes patients into a dentist office before undergoing the procedure to design a custom-made mouth guard or brace to correct their problem. They also wear specially made aligners or Invisalign devices around the neck and upper back.
Once the client has received a complete medical exam, the orthodontist should create a custom-made aligner for each patient, taking into consideration their unique problems. The procedure usually takes about thirty minutes to one hour, and practitioners will discuss their patient's goals, symptoms and expectations before installing braces. Braces are worn during the day and can be removed when the patient goes to sleep or after eating. The length of time that the braces remain in place varies, and some patients may need only one brace; others may require several.
Some patients prefer to wear only one brace, while others may want two or more. A variety of materials are used to manufacture orthotics and prosthetics, including carbon fiber, titanium, plastic, ceramic, carbon composite and stainless steel. Depending on the needs of the patient and the type of condition being treated, different materials are used. Some orthotics can be adjusted by using a finger and thumb control unit, while others are operated through a chin-type device. Special devices allow users to bend their wrist or extend the fingers.
Some physical therapists provide services that include the fitting of orthotics and prosthetics. If your doctor feels you are a good candidate for these services, he or she will refer you to an orthotics and Prosthetics specialist. The specialist will inspect your mouth, bone structure and other body parts, and then create a custom orthotic or prosthetic to fit your needs. Some orthotics, especially braces, are made to replace bones that have been lost. Other devices are designed to improve balance and strength, or to provide relief from pain resulting from conditions such as arthritis and osteoarthritis.
To find an orthotic and prosthetic device specialist, check with your local board of medical examiners. Each state requires doctors to be specially educated in various areas of practice, including prostheses and orthotics. This education is part of what the state requires of physicians, and most states require his or her patients to also receive certain educational information specific to their health care professional. You can usually find this information online. For additional details regarding this topic, check out this link: