The Biomechanical Foundation of Clinical Orthodontics

by Charles J. Burstone, DDS, MS, and Kwangchul Choy, DDS, MS, PhD,
Quintessence Books
Hanover Park, Illinois, 580 pages


It is altogether appropriate that Dr. Charles Burstone’s valedictory publication should be on his orthodontic oeuvre — biomechanics. Drs. Burstone and Kwangchul Choy have combined their considerable knowledge and expertise with eight other internationally known and respected colleagues to produce the most extensive and instructive treatise on biomechanics ever completed in a single text.

The quality of the book is what the profession has come to expect from the expertise and competence of Quintessence Books. The illustrations and photographs are copious and exemplary, printed on thick durable pages with ample references for each chapter and a glossary that will aid orthodontic novices.

Dentists by training and patient expectation are therapists not diagnosticians, and consequently, they typically have more interest in applying the forces that produce tooth movements rather than understanding how these force systems work. The authors of this fine text acknowledge that few orthodontic textbooks now describe biomechanics in a clinically useful and comprehensive manner and intend for this tome to fill that void.

With myriad additions to the orthodontic armamentarium in the 21st Century, it is essential that clinicians understand the force systems available, and how they can simulate the application of a chosen scheme prior to therapy rather than relying on clinical trial and observation, aka, therapeutic diagnosis.

They understand that the typical ortho-dontic clinician has limited knowledge in mathematics and physics and have developed a simple but effective step-by-step approach by which a reader can use the force diagrams and clinical photographs to clarify seemingly complicated ideas. At the end of each chapter, the authors have designed a series of problems that the reader is encouraged to solve. Answers to these problems lie in the Appendices. I cannot imagine a better method of helping people learn a subject so germane to the practice of orthodontics.

Drs. Burstone and Kwangchul Choy have combined their considerable knowledge and expertise … to produce the most extensive and instructive treatise on biomechanics ever completed in a single text.

The book has five sections, each of which harbors several chapters regarding specific topics:

  • The Basic and Single-Force Appliances
  • The Biomechanics of Tooth Movement
  • Advanced Appliance Therapy
  • Advanced Mechanics of Materials
  • Appendices

The authors cover the biomechanics of contemporary orthodontics in a comprehensive manner by addressing the force systems of temporary anchorage devices (TADs), aligners, orthognathic surgery, and of course, fixed appliances. This publication should easily become the go-to text on biomechanics for every orthodontic graduate program because it furnishes the foundation for mastery in the management of mal-
occlusions. Of course, orthodontic clinicians can solve some malocclusions with only scant knowledge of biomechanics, but they should never delude themselves into thinking they understand the mechanisms by which teeth move. This book, above all others, will end any such misconception.

Review by Larry White, DDS, MSD

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