Orthodontics, Braces and Clear Aligners
Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that corrects teeth and jaws that are positioned incorrectly in relation to one another. Orthodontics help you to achieve a beautiful straight and natural smile. Misaligned teeth and teeth that do not fit together correctly are harder to keep clean and are susceptible to tooth decay and premature gum disease.
Misalignments cause extra stress on the chewing muscles and this can lead to headaches, TMJ syndrome and neck, shoulder and back pain. Crooked teeth may detract from your appearance and confidence to smile. In some cases this may contribute to a person’s low self-esteem. The advantages of orthodontic treatment include a healthier mouth, an attractive smile and strong teeth that will last longer.
Dr Henry Sinclair has completed a 2 year post graduate orthodontic degree. He will be able to help determine whether you can benefit from orthodontic treatment.
A full diagnostic assessment will be undertaken to evaluate your dental condition. This will include a full breakdown of your medical and dental history and a clinical exam. A plaster study model will be made of your teeth, and comprehensive x-rays and photographs will be taken. We will be able to outline your orthodontic option and help you choose a treatment plan that’s suitable of you.
You may be a candidate for orthodontics if you have the following:
- Dental Crowding is where you have too many teeth for the available space in your jaw.
- Overbite also referred to as Buck Teeth. This is where the front teeth lie too far forward and protrude over the lower teeth.
- Underbite may present a “bulldog” appearance where the lower teeth stick out further than the upper teeth.
- Crossbite, when the upper teeth do not align when biting down over the lower teeth.
- Openbite, this is where there is a space between the biting surfaces of the front, or side teeth when biting normally together.
- Midline asymmetry, where the midline of your upper teeth doesn’t line up with the middle of your lower teeth.
- Spacing, when you have gaps in between your teeth. These can be small gaps, or result from missing teeth. These gaps may complicate the fit of your mouth and leads to jaw asymmetry issues, including a closed deep or collapsed bite.
- Deepbite is where only the top teeth can be seen when you bite together normally.
How Does Orthodontics’ Work?
There are many different appliances that can be used to help move teeth, retain muscles and affect the growth of jaws. They work by placing gentle pressure on the teeth and jaws. The extent of your problem is likely to determine which orthodontic approach is the most effective for you.
Braces are the most common form of Orthodontics and consist of bands, wires and brackets. Bands are fixed around the back molar teeth and used as anchors for the appliance, while the brackets are bonded to the front teeth. Arch wires pass through the brackets and the bands. This wire is tightening or the size of the wire is increased to put pressure on the teeth. This continual pressure gradually moves the teeth into their desired position.
Braces are usually adjusted monthly to bring the desired results. Treatment periods vary widely and can take just a few months for up to two years.
Today’s braces are smaller and more efficient and show less metal than in the past. They come in bright colours for kids, and clear styles which are preferred by many adults.
Fixed Space Maintainers
Fixed space maintainers can be applied where a baby tooth is lost prematurely. A space maintainer is used to keep the space open until the permanent tooth erupts. A band is attached to the tooth next to the empty space, and a wire is extended to the tooth on the other side of the space.
Special Fixed Appliances
Special fixed appliances may be used to control thumb sucking or tongue thrusting. These appliances are attached to the teeth by bands. Because they are uncomfortable during meals they are only used in severe situations.
Aligners (Invisible aligners)
Aligners present an alternative to traditional braces for adults. Serial aligners are being used by an increasing number of orthodontists and dentists to move the teeth, in a similar way as fixed appliances work. Aligners are virtually invisible and are removed for eating brushing and flossing.
Removable Space Maintainers
Removable space maintainers serve the same function as fixed space maintainers. They’re made with an acrylic base that fits over the jaw, and have wire branches between specific teeth to keep the space between them open.
Jaw Repositioning Appliances
These are also called splints and are worn on either the top or bottom jaw to help train the jaw to close in a more favourable position. They may be used for temporomandibular (TMJ) disorders.
A Palatal expander is an appliance that is used to widen the arch of the upper jaw. It is a plastic plate that fits over the roof of the mouth applying outward pressure.
When Should Treatment Begin?
Malocclusions become noticeable between the ages of 7-12, as the child’s permanent teeth erupt. Orthodontic treatment often begins from 8-14 years of age while the patient is growing to achieve optimum results. Ideally children should have an orthodontic evaluation around 7 years of age. At this age they will have a mix of baby and adult teeth. At Coolum Beach Dental we can spot problems with the emerging teeth and jaw growth early on in a child’s development. Addressing orthodontic issues early can save time and money later, so regular examinations are extremely important for all children.
Orthodontics in young children may involve simply maintain the space for erupting adult teeth through the use of functional or growth appliances. These maybe expansion appliances, removable expansion plates or partial braces. Children are very responsive to treatment as their bones are still developing and as such are easier to guide into correct alignment.
Children who have early treatment may still need to have braces at a later date to complete their treatment goals, however pre-treatment can often reduce the severity of problems. This can also help reduce the need to remove healthy adult teeth in the future due to excessive crowding.
If you’re an adult, it’s not too late to benefit from orthodontics. Crooked or crowded teeth, overbites, under bites, incorrect jaw position or jaw joint problems can all benefit from orthodontic intervention. The biological process involved in moving teeth is the same at any age. Usually, adult treatment takes a little longer than a child’s treatment, as adults facial bones are no longer growing, certain corrections may not be accomplished with braces alone. No matter what your age it’s never too late to improve your dental health and have a beautiful smile. At Coolum Beach Dental we offer the latest in clear ceramic and plastic brackets as an aesthetic alternative for our adult patients.