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What is Orthodontics?

The speciality of dentistry dedicated to the straightening of teeth is called Orthodontics. Often the placement of a person's facial bones can contribute to poorly positioned teeth. Orthodontics is directed at influencing these bone structures to ensure your teeth and jaws align with your overall facial profile.

A specialist in the field of orthodontics is called an orthodontist. They have begun their career with an undergraduate degree in dentistry. They have then gone on to pursue further three years of postgraduate study in the field of orthodontics. They have to limit their practice exclusively to orthodontics for several years before they are registered as specialists.

If you have any of the following, you may be a candidate for orthodontic treatment:

  • Overbite, sometimes called "buck teeth" — where the upper front teeth lie too far forward (stick out) over the lower teeth
  • Underbite — a "bulldog" appearance where the lower teeth are too far forward or the upper teeth too far back
  • Crossbite — when the upper teeth do not come down slightly in front of the lower teeth when biting together normally
  • Open bite — space between the biting surfaces of the front and/or side teeth when the back teeth bite together
  • Misplaced midline— when the center of your upper front teeth does not line up with the center of your lower front teeth
  • Spacing — gaps, or spaces, between the teeth as a result of missing teeth or teeth that do not "fill up" the mouth
  • Crowding — when there are too many teeth for the dental ridge to accommodate
Why have Orthodontic Treatment?

While having beautiful straight teeth is important, orthodontic treatment is not just about straight teeth, the benefits go far beyond that. Whilst orthodontic treatment corrects issues such as over-bites and under-bites or cross-bites and open-bites it can also reduce pain, improve quality of sleep and impact overall health.

Orthodontic problems that go untreated can lead to chewing and digestion difficulties, speech impairments, and abnormal wear of tooth surfaces. Over time, excessive strain on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth can affect the jaw joints leading to problems such as headaches or face and neck pain.

Why is Orthodontic Treatment important?
Firstly, crooked teeth and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. This can cause not only tooth decay, but also gum disease and eventual tooth loss. Other problems can cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, inefficient chewing function, excessive stress on gum tissue and bone, or misalignment of the jaw joints, which can result in chronic headaches or related pains. Fortunately, treating the original problem now is often less costly than the additional dental care required to treat related problems later in life.
Can the positioning of my jaw affect my teeth?
Sometimes a bone discrepancy can cause the upper and lower jaws to function incorrectly. This can lead to either an 'overjet', 'overbite' or 'underbite'. In such cases, the best course of action is to modify the growth pattern using 'functional appliances' such as the 'Clark Twin Block'. An upper and lower plate is used to realign the jaws to their correct position. These functional appliances are often employed to correct malocclusions. In fact, they can control muscle forces and guide natural growth and tooth eruption.
After treatment, your profile will be greatly improved and the relationship between your jaw and teeth rectified.
How important is oral hygiene?
Orthodontic appliances will not cause tooth decay, poor oral hygiene will. Gum disease, tooth decay and permanent markings (decalcification) on the teeth can occur if you eat foods containing excessive sugar or if you don't brush and floss your teeth regularly. Six monthly visits to your dentist throughout the course of your treatment are also recommended.
What sorts of foods should I avoid?
What you shouldn't eat is anything really hard, really sweet or really sticky. Say goodbye to toffee apples. Generally, you should try to avoid biting into really tough meat, raw celery, hard crusts and raw carrots. You shouldn't chew lollies, toffees, nuts or ice.
Can my teeth change position?
Teeth can move at any time, regardless of whether or not they have had braces. The good news is that following orthodontics at least 90-95% of the correction is retained. To further guard against this movement there is a retention phase that normally involves wearing removable or fixed retention appliances.
How long will I need to wear my braces?
12 to 24 months is the usual time required to complete total treatment. Often though, treatment is completed well within this time frame and the final result is a beautiful, healthy smile that is yours for life.
What is included in the cost of the braces?

The cost of your orthodontic treatment will include everything you need to successfully complete your orthodontic treatment.

  • All of the clinical appointments necessary (including emergency appointments)
  • A brace-care starter pack
  • A set of removable retainers at the end of treatment
  • Removable retainers do wear out in time and a charge is made for providing replacements
I have another question?
If you have a question we have not answered, please feel free to contact us