Category Archives: Orthodontist

Five ways an orthodontist could help you and your children

Orthodontists are specially-trained dentists who can give you a better smile.

They do this by bringing the teeth, jaw bones and facial profile into proper alignment.

Here are five ways they could help you or your family:

– Straightening your teeth to cut the risk of decay and gum disease

– Enhancing your appearance to boost your self-esteem

– Correcting protruding or misaligned teeth to get rid of speech problems

– Treating jaw joint difficulties known as TMJ

– Correcting jaw problems

An orthodontist will give you a full oral examination looking not just at the teeth but also at surrounding structures, jaw joints, facial aesthetics, muscular functions and speech patterns.

There are several options after this examination.

Sometimes – for example in younger children – it is too soon to do anything so they might advise coming back in a few months.

As the majority of a child’s facial growth happens before age 10, early treatment can deliver results without needing to have teeth extracted and may mean less time with braces.

When most of the adult teeth have erupted, it is possible to re-align the teeth into the desired position.

Although you get the best results by going to see an orthodontist as early as possible they can help people of any age.

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Why Straighten Your Teeth?

If you don’t have straight teeth, you might wonder if you need to do anything about it.

Straight teeth have psychological and physiological benefits.

Straight teeth can help you bite, chew and speak better. They also contribute to healthy teeth and gums.

Properly aligned teeth and jaws may also alleviate or prevent physical health problems.

Having straight teeth enhances your smile and makes you look better.

An attractive smile enhances your self-esteem, self-confidence and self-image.

Orthodontic treatment can improve your appearance by bringing teeth, lips and face into proportion.

It can therefore be a step towards greater social and career success and can help you enjoy life more.

Straight teeth therefore work better and make you look better.

People with beautiful smiles therefore have a lot to be happy about.

How Dental Braces are Changing

The range of braces that modern orthodontists can offer is continuing to grow.

Traditional metal braces are still the most widely used.

With the conventional approach to these, ties are used to hold the archwire in place. However, there is now a newer approach to this known as self-ligating or self-tying brackets.

Clear braces offer a more visually appealing alternative to traditional metal braces as they blend in more effectively with the natural color of the teeth.

These are usually made of ceramic or plastic material and they work in a similar way to traditional metal brackets. As clear braces can be more brittle than metal braces, removing them can be more complicated.

Gold plated braces may be used for people allergic to components of the stainless steel in traditional braces – though some choose gold for cosmetic reasons.

Lingual braces are fitted behind the teeth so are not as visible but they can be harder to get used to.

Removable aligners such as Invisalign can be used to move teeth gradually into the desired positions in less complex cases.

Finally, work is being put into the development of “smart brackets” containing microchips that will help simply and shorten the treatment process.

How Orthodontics Makes Your Smile Better

While having a great smile can make you feel good, teeth that are out of alignment can affect the way you feel around others.

Apart from the way you feel, crooked teeth and bite problems can affect your general health as well as your dental health.

Orthodontics is the specialist branch of dentistry that helps deal with bite problems and teeth that are out of alignment.

The best known part of orthodontics is the uses of braces to straighten teeth, sort out spacing issues and resolve other dental problems as well as issues with the jaw and palate.

Dental Braces have three parts – brackets, band and arch wire.

Brackets are attached to each tooth with a band and arch wire runs between the brackets.

This applies pressure over a period of time to straighten teeth which have grown awkwardly.

While the traditional metal braces are still the most common, there is now a wide range of additional options such as ceramic braces, Invisalign braces, self-ligating braces and lingual braces.

Braces can now even be “invisible” for those who are concerned about their appearance.

Treatment with braces can last from six months to several years depending on how old you are and the specifics of the dental problem. Braces have to be adjusted regularly so that they continue working effectively.

While most orthodontic patients are children or teenagers, many adults are now seeing the benefits of orthodontic treatment.

Wearing braces when you are younger is most effective as it can improve the way you look and enhance your health for the rest of your life.

The Process of Getting Braces

Before you get braces, your dentist or orthodontist will determine if braces are suitable for you and will help solve the problems you face.

First they will conduct a visual inspection of your teeth.

If they determine that you need braces, they will set up what is known as a “records appointment”. At this appointment, X-rays, molds, and impressions are made of your mouth and teeth.

These records will be used to help determine the best action to take.

The full course of treatment may be between six months to two and a half years depending on the issues.

The fist step of fitting the braces is to apply adhesive to help the cement bond to the surface of the tooth.

Normally, the teeth will then be banded and brackets added. Dental cement is used to apply the bracket and light will be used to help this harden quickly. This usually takes a few seconds per tooth.

Spacers may be used to create room for molar bands to be added later to ensure brackets will stick. These can be used when previous dental work such as fillings makes it difficult to secure a bracket to the teeth.

An archwire is then threaded between the brackets and affixed with elastic or metal ligatures. The archwires will need to be adjusted frequently to help achieve the desired outcome.

When the archwire is cold, it is normally flexible so that it can be easily threaded between the brackets. After it heats up to body temperature, the archwire attempts to retain its shape. This is what applies the light force needed to move the teeth.

Often there is a problem because there is not enough space in the mouth for all the teeth to fit properly. If this is the case, then some teeth may be removed. Alternatively, an expander may be used to enlarge the palate or arch.

Braces need to be adjusted every couple of months and this may cause a little discomfort. But most of the time with braces you will forget they are there.

What Happens After You No Longer Need Braces?

When braces have done their job and moved your teeth into the desired position, you will still need to take steps to ensure they don’t move back.

You will normally be given retainers to wear after the braces are no longer needed to ensure the teeth don’t drift to their original position.

The most popular type of retainer uses metal hooks that surround the teeth enclosed by an acrylic plate shaped to fit your palate.

If your teeth are not ready for a retainer, your orthodontist may suggest using a pre-finisher.

This is made of rubber and is similar to a mouth guard. It fixes gaps between the teeth, small spaces between the upper and lower jaw, and other minor problems that braces cannot fix.

A pre-finisher is molded to your teeth with pressure applied. You then be advised to apply pressure to it for a few seconds at a time over a set period until it completes its job.

The retainer and pre-finisher are temporary and can be moved in and out of your mouth.

Braces Are Not Only To Straighten Teeth

While many people think braces are only for straightening teeth, they actually help deal with many other problems.

Crowded Teeth: Sometimes your mouth is not big enough to hold all your teeth in the right place. Crowded teeth may become impacted and affect your bite. Crowding can be corrected by removal of teeth as well as braces.

Overbite: Upper teeth extend too far out over the lower teeth. The gap between the upper and lower teeth may lead you to injure your gums or lips. It can also cause your lips to be pushed forward meaning you are not able to close your lips completely over your teeth.

Underbite: Your lower teeth extend in front of your upper teeth. It is usually caused by having a lower jaw longer than the upper jaw.

Crossbite: Some of your upper teeth bite down inside the lower teeth but others bite down correctly. If you suffer from this, you may have problems chewing.

Open Bite: Your lower and upper incisor teeth do not touch when you bite down. This puts a lot of pressure on the back teeth when chewing and biting. If you suffer from this, you might rub your teeth together without intending to.

Space Problems: If you have teeth that are smaller than normal, or you have lost important teeth, you may have spacing problems. The teeth may spread out and, if the spaces become too large, you might have problems biting and chewing. However, the main issue with space problems is often cosmetic.