Orthodontics and Braces

Braces, whether of the fixed or removable variety, are more aesthetic and gentle than ever before. Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, tooth-coloured ceramic or plastic. Metal and ceramic brackets are bonded (fixed) to the teeth. Other appliances, such as clear aligners and some retainers, are removable. Once the wire (archwire) is fitted onto the brackets a constant, gentle force in a carefully planned direction, slowly but surely moves the teeth back to their best position.

Aligners are also designed to push on selected teeth without the need for wires or brackets. Most orthodontic specialists would recommend the bracket/archwire system for the more complicated cases as they are a little more precise.

What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that corrects teeth and jaws that are positioned improperly. Crooked teeth and teeth that do not fit together correctly are harder to keep clean, are at risk of being lost early due to tooth decay and periodontal disease, and cause extra stress on the chewing muscles that can lead to headaches, TMJ syndrome, neck, shoulder and back pain. Teeth that are crooked or not in the right place can also detract from one’s appearance.

The benefits of orthodontic treatment include a healthier mouth, a more pleasing appearance and teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime. A specialist in this field is called an orthodontist. Orthodontists acquire three additional years of education beyond their dental orthodontic training program.

How Orthodontics works

Braces, whether of the fixed or removable variety, are more aesthetic and gentle than ever before. Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, tooth-coloured ceramic or plastic. Metal and ceramic brackets are bonded (fixed) to the teeth. Other appliances, such as clear aligners and some retainers, are removable.

Once the wire (archwire) is fitted onto the brackets a constant, gentle force in a carefully planned direction, slowly but surely moves the teeth back to their best position. Aligners are also designed to push on selected teeth without the need for wires or brackets. Most orthodontic specialists would recommend the bracket/archwire system for the more complicated cases as they are a little more precise.

Orthodontics for Children

For the vast majority of children the ideal age to start treatment is around 11 years of age when the last of the baby teeth are falling out. However, early treatment can sometimes simplify later treatment particularly when early loss of baby teeth causes unfavourable changes in a patient’s bite. In such cases it can be beneficial for the orthodontist to see the child by age 8. Early treatment can also help correct problems due to thumb sucking and some crossbites.

Orthodontics for Adults

Today more than one quarter of all people wearing braces are aged 18 to 70. Many enter treatment after seeing how a nice smile and healthy teeth have made a huge difference to their own children. Improvements in treatment times, techniques and materials allow for quick, safe orthodontic treatment even for adults who may have experienced some breakdown or loss of teeth and supporting bone.

Interested in starting your journey to straighter teeth?
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