If you’ve grown up with crooked teeth, an overbite or maybe even overcrowding, it’s likely you have considered getting braces to straighten your teeth. Or if you have children, your dentist may have recommended that your child needs braces.
What is Orthodontics ?
Orthodontics is a dental speciality focussing on correcting teeth and jaw irregularities and improving their function. This can include straightening teeth and correcting misaligned bites through the use of orthodontic appliances and braces.
There are several types of treatments available to orthodontic patients. Traditional braces are the most common type of treatment and are capable of performing large tooth movements, making them suitable for most cases. Ceramic or clear braces work in the same way as metal braces, only they use clear or tooth–coloured ceramic brackets and wires, making them a subtler option for adults.
Clear aligner treatment, such as Invisalign®, uses a series of removable plastic trays to gently move the teeth into a new position. This type of treatment requires diligence on the part of the wearer as they must be worn for at least 22 hours a day to be effective.
So when should my child have Orthodontics ?
Parents can take pre–teens to see a dentist trained in orthodontics for an assessment if concerned about crooked teeth or the effects of bad habits such as thumb sucking. Some treatments for your child would start by age 7, so it’s a good idea to have regular check ups as soon as possible to help your child become comfortable with your dentist and their ongoing treatment plan.
There is no ideal age to begin orthodontic treatment for adults, with many now undergoing treatment later in life.
How long will treatment take?
This is dependent on the type of treatment you require and the movements your teeth need to complete. While some people can complete a full course of treatment in six months, for most people it usually takes between one and two years.
Can I straighten my own teeth?
It is recommended that you only undertake orthodontic treatment under the supervision of a trained dentist who can properly assess your treatment outcomes to ensure it is performed safely. Unsupervised treatment that can be bought online can be dangerous, and may result in damage to the teeth, gums or jaw and you cannot determine the outcome of straight teeth.
Clear aligners (invisible braces) vs braces
As the name suggests, invisible braces, such as Invisalign®, are designed to adjust your teeth without being seen. They achieve this invisible look with aligner trays made of BPA–free plastic, which sit comfortably over your teeth. A series of plastic aligners are provided to the patient, with each aligner designed to slowly and subtly move your teeth into the correct place.
On the ﬂip side, traditional braces are made up of metal brackets that are bonded to your teeth, and then connected by wires and rubber bands. The brackets on the teeth are tightened every four weeks or so to align the teeth.
Are clear aligners & traditional braces effective in all cases?
Both types of braces are designed to effectively treat your orthodontic problem and ultimately, leave you with straight teeth. However, the severity of your case will ultimately determine which type of braces will be more effective.
For more simple cases, such as crowded teeth, crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, open bites and gapped teeth, both invisible braces and traditional braces can be an effective treatment option.
However, with more severe problems such as malocclusions, extremely crooked teeth or cross bites, traditional braces are a more effective choice, as they are designed to provide more specialised alignment and treatment. Using the bonded metal brackets, wires and bands, traditional braces can adjust the teeth in a way that invisible braces may not.
What happens at my first appointment?
At your complimentary consultation appointment we will scan your teeth using an iTero scanner and simulator where you can take a sneak peek at what your smile could look like with straighter teeth. We can answer your questions and discuss how long your orthodontic treatment will take and the costs involved.