Also known as dentofacial orthopedics, orthodontics is mostly concerned with the treatment of “improper bites” which may be as a result of tooth irregularities and/or disproportionate jaw relationships. Orthodontic treatment not only focuses on dental displacement but also deals with the control and modification of facial growth thus the name “Dentofacial Orthopedics”.
We usually check for misalignment of teeth during regular dental visits. But if the jaws or teeth are out of line, especially in children, we will suggest a visit with our specialists. They will first assess the patient’s face, mouth as well as the state and position of their teeth. Using X-ray images the specialists will determine what has caused them to be in their current position and with the aid of photographs and a plaster model of the patient’s teeth, they will determine what future movement to the teeth will be needed so that the patient’s bite is fully functional.
Braces are dental appliances that exert pressure, which over time, move teeth into their proper position. In addition to straightening teeth, braces can also help move a child’s jaw(s) into the right position. At our dental clinic we offer both removable and fixed braces.
Removable braces can be used to correct slightly crooked teeth in children. Functional removable braces however treat problems with the position of a child’s upper and lower jaws. They are used to change the growth of a child’s jaws to normalize the bite of their teeth.
Fixed braces also referred to as “train track” braces, correct crooked teeth of patients from as young as 13 years old onwards. Made of metal (stainless steel), consist of brackets and bands that are bonded or cemented to a patient’s teeth, and very thin metal wires (arch wires) that gently push teeth into their right positions. The teeth move when the arch wired put pressure on the brackets and teeth. Sometimes, springs or rubber bands are used to exert more force in a specific direction.
Once the braces are placed, regular check-ups will have to be done for any decay or gum problems. The braces will also need to be adjusted regularly to make sure they are working properly. Treatment with fixed braces usually takes between 12 and 24 months, but cold take longer if the problem is severe. With removable braces, treatment takes less time but one might have to wear a removable brace before and/or after they have finished their treatment with a fixed brace.