What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics, the branch of dentistry concerned with the growth of the teeth, jaws and face, is in high demand. Why? Orthodontic treatment is about making the best of your teeth; it’s about improving the harmony of your mouth and jaws. Once you can bite together correctly, you can eat more comfortably and care for your teeth and gums more easily. And your smile will benefit immensely!

What are the symptoms?

Most courses of orthodontic treatment begin with a referral from a general dentist to a specialist.

These are some of the most common reasons for a referral:

  • Protruding upper front teeth – one of the most common dental problems
  • Crowding – a narrow jaw may mean there is not enough room for your teeth, resulting in crowding. Conversely, some patients have significant gaps between their teeth.
  • Asymmetry – particularly when the centre lines of the upper and lower front teeth do not match, perhaps because the teeth have drifted or the position of the jaw has shifted.
  • A deep bite– when your upper teeth cover the lower teeth too much
  • A reverse bite– when your upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth
  • An open bite – when your front teeth remain apart when your back teeth meet; the tongue is often still visible between the upper and lower front teeth.
  • Impacted teeth– in some patients, secondary teeth come through in the wrong position or do not erupt at all. Orthodontic treatment can help bring these teeth into the correct position

When is the best time to start Orthodontic treatment?

The best time for the first Orthodontic visit is between age 7-9 to assess dental development and guide the occlusion. Also using functional appliances to regulate the growth requires early attention to use the benefits of growth. When the permanent teeth are all erupted, it is never late to start the treatment although the sooner is the better.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

It is impossible to give a definite answer. Simple cases may be completed in a few months; the average case may take 18-24 months, while complex cases may take three years or more, especially if jaw surgery is involved. Patients vary a lot as to how fast their teeth will move and this is something, which cannot be predicted in advance of treatment. On average cases needing extractions take longer than non-extraction cases. Cases involving jaw surgery will take longer.

How do I choose which type of brace to have?

TreatmentMetalic braceCeramic braceInvisible Brace (lingual)
With jaw surgery**
6 month smile**
Approximate treatment time6-18 months6-18 months9-18 months
Damon System Available**  

What will I gain from orthodontic treatment?

The benefits of orthodontic treatment include the following:

  • Removal of dental crowding (or closing gaps)
  • Alignment of the upper and lower dental arches
  • Correction of the bite of the teeth so that the front teeth meet on closing and the back teeth mesh together
  • Reducing the likelihood of damage to prominent teeth
  • Enhancing facial aesthetics
  • Accommodating impacted, unerupted or displaced teeth
  • Preparation for advanced dental treatment, such as crowns, bridges or dental implants
  • Reversing the drifting of the teeth in older patients who have suffered from advanced gum disease

Will orthodontic treatment stop me getting gum disease or tooth decay?

There is little evidence that orthodontic treatment in general confers such a benefit. However there are individual cases where treatment clearly has been beneficial.

What about social and psychological benefits?

Many patients will comment on how much they gain from a good smile.

How successful is the Orthodontics treatment?

This very much depends on your commitment to the treatment. As a general rule, patients who co-operate well with treatment get good results, whilst those who do not co-operate well, get poor results. Unless retainers are worn in the longer term, some settling and growth changes may occur after treatment.

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