Orthodontics is the part of dentistry that is concerned with the treatment of ill alignment, improper bites and crooked teeth. Orthodontic treatment can help fix the patient's teeth and set them in the right place.
What does orthodontics involve?
Depending on the severity, malpositioned jaws and skew teeth can be corrected with fixed braces, retainers and invisible aligners.
- Fixed braces
Braces involve tiny brackets to be fixed individually to each tooth. By bonding brackets to the front surface of the tooth, archwires can be laced through the brackets to connect the teeth to one another.
With all the teeth connected to one another, your dentist can gradually pull teeth into their correct position and correct malocclusion (improper bite).
Braces are used for both children and adults with substantial misalignment and crooked teeth.
Braces can be traditional metal, ceramic or even clear. Treatment may range from 4 to 24 months, depending on the complexity of your case.
Retainers are mouth splints made with wires or clear plastic, worn for a certain amount of hours a day to hold teeth in position and prevent skew teeth and improper jaw alignment.
They are often advised after fixed braces to prevent the teeth from moving after the braces have been removed.
For younger children, removable plates and retainers may be advised as a preventative measure if jaw and bite misalignment is present. Depending on the case, retainers can be worn for 6 to 12 months. They are cost-effective and can prevent the need for primary or secondary orthodontic treatments like braces.
- Invisible aligners
Clear aligners can be are removable custom mouth splints which, when worn, gradually straighten crooked teeth.
An impression of your teeth is taken, and the aligner is made to tweak your alignment bit by bit, over time. Your bite will be moved a few millimetres at a time with each new aligner.
They are suitable for those with minor crooked teeth as an alternative to traditional fixed braces.
Being made from clear plastic, these virtually invisible aligners are more aesthetically pleasing, cost-effective and comfortable than traditional braces.
How long the entire process will take will depend on your specific case, but a straighter smile can be achieved after 12 months of treatment.
The qualified team at Dr Liezl Kemp & Associates is able to assess your smile and can help prevent some of these issues or tell you whether or not orthodontic treatment may be needed in the future, and what type of orthodontic treatment will be best suited to assist you creating a more symmetrical and aligned smile.