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 and 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.
How do I Know if I Need Orthodontics?
Only your dentist or orthodontist can determine whether you can benefit from orthodontics. Based on diagnostic tools that include a full medical and dental health history, a clinical exam, plaster models of your teeth, and special X-rays and photographs, an orthodontist or dentist can decide whether orthodontics are recommended, and develop a treatment plan that's right for you.
How Does Orthodontic Treatment Work?
Many different types of appliances, both fixed and removable, are used to help move teeth, retrain muscles and affect the growth of the jaws. These appliances work by placing gentle pressure on the teeth and jaws. The severity of your problem will determine which orthodontic approach is likely to be the most effective.
Self-ligating braces look very similar to the traditional fixed braces that orthodontists have used to straighten teeth for decades. However, they are now available with clear or ceramic brackets, making them far more discreet.
They also use clips instead of elastic bands to hold the brace’s wire in place. This creates less friction and makes it easier for you to brush around your brace and keep your teeth clean during your orthodontic treatment.
Lingual braces attach to the lingual (tongue) side of your teeth. No one can see them, but they’ll be hard at work straightening your teeth from the inside. Your lingual brace will look and function just like a fixed brace, using brackets and wires to gradually move your teeth.
In the case of lingual braces, though, the brackets are custom-made to fit the more irregular back surfaces of your teeth. If you’re looking for a discreet brace, this is the crème da la crème of ‘invisible’ braces.
Strictly speaking, retainers aren’t braces. Instead of moving your teeth, their job is to hold them in their new position once your braces come off. They’re so important, though, that we think they’re always worth a mention.
We offer two types of retainers, and if you’re a private patient you’ll receive both. Removable retainers consist of clear vacuum-formed mouth guards that snugly fit your teeth to hold them in position. Fixed retainers are thin stainless steel wires that are permanently attached behind your front teeth where they stop your teeth from moving 24 hours a day, seven days a week.