Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that involves the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of facial and dental problems. The word literally translates as "Straight Teeth" however contemporary orthodontics is not limited to straightening teeth only. Our goal is to achieve the ideal dental and facial appearance, and obtain an ideal occlusion (bite) which can be maintained a lifetime with an appropriate retention program (ask your orthodontist about the importance of retainer wear).
Q. What is an Orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a specialist in dentistry restricting their practice only to the treatment of orthodontic problems. An orthodontist has devoted two to three years full-time comprehensive training at an accredited University or Hospital program in addition to their previous dental training. This advanced training includes topics such as growth and development, genetics, bio-mechanics, anatomy as well as the clinical skills in the design, application and control of removable appliances (plates) and braces.
Q. When Should Orthodontic Treatment be Done?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening examination for every child by the age of 7. This does not imply that all children should receive treatment at this age but it does allow the orthodontist to assess each individual case to determine who could benefit from early intervention. In appropriate cases, early intervention can prevent the need for future treatment or at least reduce the complexity of future treatment, reduce the need for extractions and gain a better overall result both dentally and facially. Treatment is not only limited to children with approximately 20 per cent of patients being adults.
Q. What Does Orthodontic Treatment Involve?
As mentioned above, some patients benefit from early treatment to lessen or eliminate the need for treatment at a later age. Early intervention or treatment may range from simply maintaining space for developing adult teeth when a baby tooth is lost early, the use of functional or growth appliances to enhance facial growth, expansion appliances, removable plates or partial braces. Full braces allow maximum control over the movement of teeth whereas plates and other similar appliances can only tip teeth in certain directions. The correction of rotated teeth, and any movement of teeth that involves more than simple tipping movements is best achieved with braces.