Orthodontics is the area of dentistry which deals with straightening the teeth and jaw alignment, using either a fixed or removable brace (technically referred to as an appliance).
The majority of patients are children, although there has been a considerable increase in the number of adults receiving treatment in recent years due to new advancements in techniques and materials.
What are the options?
There are many types of appliance, ranging in colours and finishes. One of the exciting advancements is the clear appliances; near-invisible custom made aligners, which fit over the teeth and gradually moves them into the correct alignment. Other advances include tooth-coloured and clear fixed appliances, together with sophisticated planning technology that lets you see how your teeth are going to move before you undertake treatment.
To determine your Orthodontic needs, a variety of techniques are used including direct measurements, x-rays, study casts and photographs, to aid treatment planning.
What is involved?
Treatment is often lengthy, but once completed, Orthodontics can provide incredible results. Regular visits to your Orthodontist are needed, approximately every 8 weeks, to make adjustments to your appliance, monitor the progression of your treatment, and offer advice.
How long will Orthodontic treatment take?
Depending on the severity of the problem, usually between 15 months to 2 years. Your Orthodontist will be able to advise how long they would expect your treatment to take. This will depend on your specific issue, what appliances are used and how quickly your teeth move.
Is Orthodontics painful?
There may be a few days at the start of treatment when your mouth feels uncomfortable or tender. The same applies after an adjustment. Your Orthodontist will advise you on how to deal with the discomfort, which will soon pass.
How do braces straighten your teeth?
Braces apply gentle pressure to the teeth. This causes the jawbone to soften, before the teeth slowly move to the predetermined position prescribed by your Orthodontist. Heavy pressure does not move the teeth as quickly as gentle pressure.
Will I need any teeth out?
Teeth are only removed if absolutely necessary. This happens less often nowadays due to advances in Orthodontic appliance (brace) design. Sometimes however, there is not enough room to line up the teeth and space will need to be created. Your Orthodontist will be able to advise you on this in your initial consultation.
I am an adult: Is it too late for me to have Orthodontic treatment?
Not at all! More adults are now having Orthodontic treatment than ever, including many celebrities. The advances in technology now enable you to have Orthodontic treatment in a discreet way, through the introduction of invisible appliances.