Orthodontics is a field of dentistry that deals with corrections involving jaw and teeth alignment. There are several options for you to consider if you would like the “PERFECT SMILE”.
Many factors can contribute to teeth to become crooked or jaws misaligned, including childhood thumb-sucking, mouth breathing or a traumatic injury, and some conditions are inherited.
Treatment is usually either with braces or Invisalign for teens or adults who have all of their adult teeth. However, often orthodontic problems such as narrow arches, crossbites or teeth that will not fit can be dealt with at an earlier age, whilst a child is still growing. This is known as interceptive orthodontics.
Essentially we are attempting to nip a problem in the bud before it becomes something more difficult to deal with in teen or adulthood.
Often early problems are associated with airway issues, such as snoring or mouth-breathing. Read more about kids breathing issues here.
A variety of different “plates” (known as orthopaedic plates or functional appliances) can be used to deal with issues in younger children before they become a big problem requiring full blown orthodontic treatment with braces/Invisalign, and or extractions/surgery. We recommend a brief consultation before the age of 4, then again around age 7 to check for issues which can be addressed early. Adult braces usually entail additional procedures because their faces have already fully developed.
In the image below, you can see correction of a crossbite in one of our young patients (age 5). See how the pink arrow shows the upper teeth inside the lower teeth on the left image (incorrect), and then outside the lower teeth on the right image (corrected). Note our patient’s “midline” has corrected also (centre of upper front teeth now align with the centre of his lower front teeth). He is now symmetrical and will continue to grow this way. This was done using a removable plate over about 6 months with no pain or discomfort and has alleviated what is a much more difficult problem to treat in teen or adult years.
There are three main forms of adult orthodontic treatment:
- Metal or ceramic brackets that are cemented or bonded to teeth.
- Brackets that attach to the tongue-side of the teeth (also called “lingual” braces).
- Invisalign – Thin, clear plastic appliances which when worn can not generally be seen.
Today’s braces are made from extremely lightweight and natural-coloured materials. The metal and ceramic brackets are bonded to the teeth and this is easily removed.
Because orthodontic appliances need to be adjusted every 6 to 12 weeks to ensure they continue to move the teeth into their correct position, this can create pressure on the teeth and jaws. This can cause mild discomfort which usually subsides following each adjustment.