What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that specialises in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of problems with the alignment of teeth and jaws. Technically known as 'malocclusion,' most people know it as having a 'bad bite.'
Having crooked or misaligned teeth can make it harder to eat and to brush and floss your teeth, increasing your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. It can also affect speech.
Orthodontic treatment involves the design and use of corrective appliances such as braces, aligners, orthodontic retainers, plates and headgear to bring the teeth and jaws into proper alignment.
When is the right time to start orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontics isn't just for teenagers. While treatments have a higher chance of success when the teeth and jaws are still developing, orthodontic treatment can also help younger children and adults to improve their smiles and reduce their oral health risks.
Early signs of orthodontic problems usually start to become apparent by the age of seven, by which time many of a child's permanent front teeth have erupted. Early examination gives our orthodontist the chance to detect and evaluate any problems that may be present and to discuss appropriate treatments.
Early orthodontic treatment may prevent more serious problems from developing, or make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. Early treatment may also achieve results that aren't possible once the face and jaws have stopped growing. We can also offer advice about how to stop behaviours that could be damaging your child's teeth, such as thumb sucking.
In most cases, orthodontic treatment begins as soon as the last baby tooth has been shed, usually in the early teens. In some cases, it can be an advantage to start just before the last baby teeth are lost.
If we think your child could benefit from orthodontic treatment, we'll discuss the options with them and with you so you know what to expect and can make an informed decision.
In the past, orthodontic treatment was generally restricted to children. However, the basic process involved in moving teeth is the same at any age, so orthodontic treatment is often successful for adults as well. As the facial bones are no longer growing, however, some severe malocclusions may not be corrected with braces alone, and orthodontics may need to be combined with jaw surgery.
However old you are, if you think you or your child might have an orthodontic problem, the best time to see an orthodontist is now. Book a consultation at Sailors Bay Dentistry to find out more about orthodontics on the North Shore. It's never too late to get that perfect smile!
What are the different types of orthodontic treatment at Our Northbridge Clinic?
Our Northbridge orthodontics specialists offer a range of different appliances to control tooth movement, depending on your needs and preferences. As well as traditional metal braces, we also offer tooth-coloured ceramic braces, lingual braces and removable Invisalign® aligners that fit over the teeth like a mouthguard.
Traditional metal braces are the most common form of orthodontic treatment. Metal brackets are fixed to the outside of the teeth, supported by arch wires, bonding materials and elastic ligatures.
Metal braces are suitable for people of all ages and are the best option for correcting more severe bite problems.
If you don't like the look of metal braces, we offer tooth-coloured ceramic braces as an alternative.
Ceramic braces are suitable for most teenagers and adults, but they may not be able to correct more severely crooked teeth.
Lingual braces are similar to conventional braces, except the brackets are fixed to the inside of teeth. This means they're hidden from view, which can be appealing if you're worried about getting braces for aesthetic reasons.
Lingual braces aren't suitable for all orthodontic issues. We'll let you know if you're a candidate during your orthodontic assessment.
Invisalign® clear aligners
Invisalign treatment is a more discreet and removable solution for orthodontic treatment. It involves a series of clear plastic aligners that are custom made for your mouth, which shift your teeth into their new position over a period of time.
Invisalign aligners are most effective for minor orthodontic problems and fix-ups, so they may not be a suitable option for everyone.
Read more about Invisalign treatment in Northbridge.