Orthodontics involves correcting teeth that are badly positioned, crooked or overcrowded, as well as closing gaps between teeth and correcting bites. This is done using orthodontic braces which move the teeth into the correct positions and alignment. Today there are many different types of braces with ‘invisible’ braces becoming increasingly popular, particularly for adult patients. In fact, it is really never too late to have your teeth straightened and today there are numerous options for more convenient, faster and effective treatments including:-
More and more adults, as well as children, receive orthodontic treatment to improve their smiles, although a better appearance is certainly not the only benefit of treatment. Correcting the alignment of your teeth not only optimises the bite and functional arrangement of your teeth, but also facilitates easier brushing and flossing, helping you to keep your teeth healthy.
Many patients are surprised to discover that they can improve their smile with bleaching and orthodontics rather than veneers. The advantage of orthodontics as part of an aesthetic treatment is that it minimises any changes to the existing teeth. Using veneers to straighten teeth can sometimes result in bulky uncomfortable restorations as well as extensive preparation of otherwise healthy teeth.
The reason that braces work so well is also the reason they are required to treat people. Teeth will readily move to a new position with braces but also if there is no resistance in a particular direction when teeth are missing or lost. This can often be the beginning of the collapse of an otherwise healthy mouth, a domino effect if you like.
For example, if a back tooth is lost and something not placed in the gap, like a dental implant or bridge, all of the teeth adjacent to the gap will begin to migrate into the gap. The teeth behind and in front will typically tilt in the direction of the gap, and even the tooth opposite in the opposite jaw will ‘overerupt’ as there is no longer chewing pressure keeping it in place.
Of course this will happen at different rates for different people, but ultimately it affects everyone. We do recommend implants for missing teeth as they do not require disturbing healthy adjacent teeth as is the case with making a bridge. There are a variety of methods of preparing bridges, most all of which do require cutting into the adjacent teeth to anchor the bridge.
Modern orthodontic treatment usually involves the use of fixed braces to move teeth, enabling patients to be treated to a high standard and giving the best possible results.
Treatment options are more varied now than ever. Conditions that were not possible to be treated can now be treated as a matter of course and there are now treatment options that provide fast more simplified treatment for straightening front teeth – especially useful in adults not wanting to go through longer full orthodontic treatments.
Lingual fixed braces
Lingual braces are placed on the inside (backs) of the teeth in a similar fashion to labial braces (most common fixed braces) and are an equally effective option. Although these are more expensive in that they require specialist expertise and longer visits they have the huge advantage of being hidden from view and therefore are not visible in the smile.
Labial (exterior) fixed braces
Conventional labial fixed braces are the best value, and come in more varieties than ever before. Traditional metal braces are smaller and less obvious than ever, for youngsters we make these with changeable coloured elastics so you can surprise your friends with a different colour after each visit to the dentist.
Ceramic braces are available that are tooth coloured and are very difficult to see.
Crystal brackets are now available which are made from clear crystal, and are virtually invisible as well.
Selection of these types of exterior braces is mostly down to personal preference and budget, as they all are able to achieve similar results in equivalent time scales.
Removable clear braces
Invisalign© being the most widely known – these are an increasingly popular method of treatment. A great way to have orthodontic treatment without anyone knowing.
These removable clear braces slip onto your teeth and can be used in many circumstances, however it is particularly important to have a consultation with an orthodontist to discuss your objectives, as they may find that an alternative appliance suits you better.