Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The technical term for these problems is malocclusion, which literally means bad bite.
Orthodontic treatment involves the design and use of corrective appliances to bring the teeth and jaws into proper alignment.
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has completed a full-time 4 year post graduate program at a dental school, in order to learn the special skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial development.
- A more attractive smile.
- Better function of the teeth.
- Increase in self-confidence.
- Increased ability to clean the teeth.
- Improved wear patterns of the teeth.
- Better long term health of teeth and gums.
- Guide permanent teeth into more favourable positions.
- Reduce the risk of injury to protruded front teeth.
- Aid in optimizing other dental treatment
- Early or late loss of baby teeth.
- Difficulty in chewing or biting.
- Mouth breathing majority of the time.
- Thumb/Finger sucking or other oral habits.
- Crowding, misplaced, or blocked-out-teeth.
- Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude or retrude.
- Speech difficulty.
- Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth.
- Protruding teeth.
- Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don’t meet at all.
- Facial imbalance or asymmetry.
- Grinding or clenching of teeth.
Braces use continuous gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions.
Rubber bands or elastics contribute a lot to straighter teeth. They are marvels of physics. Attached to your braces, elastics exert the force that creates the right amount of pressure to move teeth. It is important to wear your elastics all the time (24 hours/day) and replace them every 24 hours so the force is constant to ensure optimal tooth movement. Elastics are only removed during your main meals and when you brush your teeth.
Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid surgery and more serious complications. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child visit an orthodontist by age 7 or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist or the child’s physician.
Phase One (early) treatment, if necessary, is usually initiated on children between the ages of 7 and 10. Phase One treatment lasts about 12-15 months. The primary objective for Phase One treatment is to address significant problems to prevent them from becoming more severe and to improve self-esteem and self-image. The period following Phase One treatment is called the “resting period,” during which growth and tooth eruption are closely monitored. Throughout this period, parents and patients will be kept informed of future treatment recommendations. Phase Two treatment, which includes full braces, generally begins at the age of 12 or 13, and may be necessary to complete the correction.
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a beautiful and healthy smile. 30% of our patients today are adults.
Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from 18 to 30 months. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary.
Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in keeping treatment time on schedule.
No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouth guard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouth guards are inexpensive, comfortable and come in a variety of colours and patterns.
With practice and a period of adjustment, braces typically do not interfere with the playing of wind or brass instruments.
Some orthodontic appliances (e.g. braces) can result in an initial period of discomfort for the first 2-7 days of wear. This is not something that hurts continuously, but can mean that teeth are a little more tender than normal when eating for the first week.
Many advances in modern orthodontics have eliminated many of the needs for teeth coming out and as a result we do everything within our power to prevent permanent tooth loss. Having said this, there are certain cases where teeth are still required to be extracted. These most often include major midline shifts (the line between your two front teeth being centred to your face) and people with a very full mouth wanting a flatter profile. Often this is the last resort as our aim is to maintain the teeth.
Yes. You should continue to see your general dentist every 6 months for dental checkups and visit your dentist or oral hygienist every 3 months for cleaning (scaling and polishing) to ensure total plaque control.
We work hard to accommodate our patient’s busy lives. We do this by scheduling long appointments during school hours and shorter appointments after school. By doing this, we do not reserve an entire afternoon for three or four patients, but rather accommodate as many families as possible with afternoon appointments.
Teeth can have a tendency to change after they have been corrected. Retainers are placed on the teeth at the end of treatment to hold them in position. Wearing or using a retainer as instructed is an important element of treatment if the result is to be maintained indefinitely. Commonly a permanent fixed hidden retainer will be placed behind teeth.
Keeping your teeth plaque-free while having treatment done is one of the most important aspects of orthodontic treatment. Plaque accumulation around the brackets will eventually cause demineralisation of the tooth surface and white spots will develop. These white spots are the forerunner of dental decay. Plaque also causes infection of the gums and subsequently redness, swelling and bleeding of the gums.
In our practise we do follow a strict oral hygiene regime which will be easy for you to execute if you do follow the steps exactly as prescribed and as visually shown to you by using digital images and videoclips
To summarize these steps include brushing techniques (manual or electric toothbrush), flossing techniques, fluoride mouth rinsing, carbohydrate intake reduction and dietary substitutes to reduce plaque formation and advising visits to the general dentist and oral hygienist.
No, you can contact us directly and arrange a time to suit yourself. Many of our patients are referred by their general dentist but a significant amount of patients initiate the consultation themselves.
We offer an extensive range of payment plans. We strive to suit your requirements, however, once the plan has been agreed upon, it is expected that payments be made in accordance with the plan to ensure continuation of treatment.