Orthodontics is a specialist field of dentistry that is focused on diagnosing, preventing and treating patients with irregular teeth alignment and jaw function. Ortho, simply means, “to straighten or correct”.
An orthodontist is a registered specialist dentist who has completed an additional 3 years of formal university training (Masters degree in Orthodontics) An orthodontist is very different to a general dentist who dabbles orthodontic treatment, as a general dentist does not have any formal additional training.
An orthodontist is recognised as an expert in orthodontic treatment and has the knowledge and clinical skills to provide the highest quality of orthodontic treatment.
There are number of reasons why orthodontic treatment is carried out.
Patients with bite problems and/or crooked teeth can wear their teeth down unevenly. This can shorten the life of the teeth or result in the need to expensive treatment later in life.
It is also more difficult to clean crooked and crowded teeth. Without adequate cleaning, decay and gum problems can develop. Certain bite problems such as a deep bite can also damage the gums.
Orthodontic treatment can of course also assist in obtaining a beautiful smile that can help with self –esteem and self-confidence. We believe that everyone should feel good about themselves and helping you achieve a beautiful smile is what we take great pride in doing.
If you notice any irregularities with your child’s teeth or jaw it is ideal to visit an orthodontist at around 7 years of age.
Our practice certainly encourages early orthodontic assessment. The Australian Society of Orthodontists does recommend an orthodontic assessment for patients 7 years of age. In many cases your children’s teeth are monitored every 6 to 12 month whilst their adult teeth are coming through however, an assessment of a young child patient in the mixed dentition does not and should not routinely lead to early orthodontic treatment.
Our orthodontists do recommend interceptive orthodontic treatment in very specific mixed dentition cases when such treatment can be justified from the cost-benefit perspective.
The average active treatment duration for interceptive orthodontic management is 6 months with periodic follow-up until the permanent dentition.
In the absence of any developmental abnormalities, our orthodontists prefer to treat orthodontic patients comprehensively with fixed appliances when all of the permanent teeth have erupted. The average treatment duration for comprehensive fixed appliance treatment in our practice is 18 months.
There is no age restriction for having your teeth straightened. We have treated many adult patients and are delighted to provide our patients with the confidence to smile proudly.
We aim to make the orthodontic experience enjoyable for all of our patients. Your satisfaction is our highest priority and we strive to ensure that your beautiful smile is one of the best investments that you ever make.
You’re never too old! Recent studies show that over 25% of patients currently in orthodontic treatment are adult patients. Many adults are correcting problems that were never treated when they were children, and can now experience the satisfaction of a perfect smile without the need for cosmetic dentistry.
Absolutely not! Orthodontic treatment for adults is becoming more and more common. More adults than ever are realising that orthodontic treatment is not just for kids, and can help improve the aesthetics and health of a smile of any age! In a society where appearance matters and can help make the difference between getting a job or a promotion, adults are choosing wisely to invest in orthodontic treatment.
Some of the most common reasons our adult patients come to us considering orthodontic treatment include:
- Teeth that are crowded or spaced apart, sometimes as a result of toothdecay or gum disease
- Pain or pressure from crooked teeth or a misaligned jaw
- A bad bite or malocclusion, causing teeth to fit together incorrectly
Most of all though, adult patients come to our practice seeking a healthier mouth and a more confident smile! Orthodontic treatment at GCO can be successful at any age, and adults especially can appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile.
As an adult patient, we recognise that you have different needs than our younger patients, and we will work with you to ensure you receive the most appropriate treatment and that your needs are met with understanding and respect.
If you’ve been thinking about getting that perfect smile, we would love to have you visit for a consultation. We understand you have a busy schedule, and will work with you to find a time that is convenient for you.
Orthodontic treatment can range from moving a single tooth a very short distance (mild cases) to treatment that involves jaw surgery and braces (severe cases). Every patient is an individual and every person’s teeth will move at different rates.
The average treatment time for comprehensive orthodontic treatment (i.e. correcting the bite and crowding/spacing of the teeth) is approximately 18-24 months. Patients are usually seen every 6-8 weeks to ensure that the braces are in good condition and to achieve the necessary tooth movement.
Some patients may require extraction of permanent teeth as part of their orthodontic treatment. Cases where such extractions are beneficial include:
- severe crowding
- severe bite problems
- heavily restored or decayed teeth (which may cause significant problems in the future)
Your orthodontist will advise you whether or not extractions are required in your individual case.
Braces are used to move the teeth precisely into position and close all of the extraction spaces.
A combined orthodontic-orthognathic surgical approach may be the ideal option for patients with a severe jaw discrepancy and/or severe bite problem. This type of treatment is generally performed in late adolescence or adulthood. Your orthodontist will work together with a specialist oral and maxillofacial surgeon to achieve the most ideal dental and facial result.
Combined orthodontic-orthognathic surgical treatment for a small lower jaw and severe bite problem. Note the improved projection of the lower jaw and improvement in the facial profile.
Occasionally the upper canine tooth may not erupt naturally. This is often an inherited problem. A minor surgical procedure called an “exposure” may be required to uncover the tooth (remove some gum) and place an attachment on it. This surgery is also performed by a specialist oral and maxillofacial surgeon. The orthodontist can then align the impacted tooth with the braces.
The upper canine tooth was exposed by the surgeon. The orthodontist then placed the archwire and successfully aligned the canine tooth.