Orthodontics

Orthodontics focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to the development of the teeth, jaws and face. It particularly concentrates on tooth growth and the many problems related to this, for example, misaligned teeth.

Nearly 1 million people in the UK undergo orthodontic treatment which involves the use of braces to correct a 'bad bite' and other problems.

Reasons for orthodontics

The main reasons for fitting a brace are:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Overcrowded jaw
  • Malocclusion
  • Asymmetrical teeth

A brace works by re-aligning the teeth, moving them back into their original position which also improves the patient's 'bite'. A bad bite is caused by thumb sucking, too many teeth, tongue thrusting or a jaw disorder but a brace will correct these.

Types of braces

These include:

  • Damon braces
  • Inman Aligner
  • Invisalign
  • Lingual braces
  • Six month smiles

Each of these types of brace is discussed in greater detail.

The type of brace you have depends upon the extent of your orthodontic problem and your budget. There are two types of brace: fixed and removable plus various options in regard to the materials used.

Some versions require you to wear 'headgear': a type of device worn around the head which holds the brace in position. These removable devices are only worn at night.

Braces used to be the traditional metal and wire style of brace but there are less obtrusive versions these days which include clear, plastic braces. These braces are lighter and easier to wear.

Braces work by gradually moving misaligned teeth back into place. This process takes from a few months up to 2 years to complete. But there is a risk of the teeth again, moving out of position, so a retainer will be given which needs to be worn to prevent this from happening.

Fitting of a brace

Braces are fitted in two stages: the first stage involves the taking of an impression of your mouth, teeth and gums which acts as a blueprint for the brace. This impression is sent to a dental laboratory where technicians use this to fabricate your brace.

The second stage is the fitting of your new brace. The orthodontist slots this over your teeth before checking the fit and position. If you have chosen a fixed brace then this will be cemented into place.

You will need to visit the dentist on regular occasions in order to check the progress of the brace. Adjustments will be made if necessary.