Symmetry Orthodontics provides a helpful list of frequently asked questions to ensure you can learn as much as possible about Orthodontics and our unique approach.
Orthodontics is a specialist branch of dentistry that straightens teeth to prevent and treat dentofacial irregularities.
An orthodontist is a specialist. They have completed a further 2-3 years of postgraduate full time education following 5 years of dental school, to acquire the knowledge & special skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial development.
The benefits depend on the presenting concern and spatial relation of the jaws and teeth, but can be split in to broad benefits.
- Psychosocial confidence and wellbeing.
- Functional improvement and prevention.
The list below answers the question less academically:
- A more attractive smile
- Increase in self-confidence
- Increased ability to clean the teeth
- Improved force distribution to reduce wear patterns of the teeth
- Better long-term health of teeth and gums
- Guide permanent teeth into more favourable positions
- Reduce the risk of injury to protruded front teeth
- Aid in optimizing other dental treatment
- Reduced appearance-consciousness during critical development years
- Better function of the teeth and bite
- Upper front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth, or are “bucked”
- Upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (deep bite)
- Upper front teeth are behind or inside the lower-front teeth (underbite)
- The upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together (open bite)
- Crowded or overlapped teeth
- The centre of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
- Finger- or thumb-sucking habits which continue after six or seven years of age
- Difficulty chewing
- Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
- The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together (functional shift)
- Spaces between the teeth
Orthodontic tooth movement can occur at any age. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age and intercepted before jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid more complicated treatment later. Orthodontic societies around the world therefore recommends that every child visit an orthodontist by age 7 or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist or the child’s physician.
This is relevant to the question above. Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment may be beneficial between the ages of six and ten. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, underbites, or harmful oral habits. Phase II treatment is a follow on full set of braces applied later (age 11 to 14) for someone who had Phase I interceptive treatment. Phase I is not always necessary and one comprehensive phase is usually all that is needed.
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a beautiful and healthy smile. Twenty percent of our orthodontic patients today are adults and discrete treatment options are available
Braces use steady gentle pressure to gradually move your teeth to their new, corrected positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original horseshoe shape. As it does so, it applies pressure and pulls your teeth to their new even and aligned position. Straight & even teeth allow the dentition to function better and are easier to look after.
Treatment times vary and depend on three factors 1. the patients biology, 2. the severity of the correction required, 3. Patient cooperation with instructions ( ie. breakages, cleaning, and elastic wear).
The average time is 21 months but can range from 12 to 30 months. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the correction. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important factors in keeping treatment time on schedule.
The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires, you may feel some soreness of your teeth for 1 to 4 days. Your lips and cheeks may need 1 to 2 weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.
No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouthguard when participating in any sporting activity.
No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace covers can be provided to prevent discomfort if required but are rarely requested.
Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist every 6 months for cleanings and dental checkups.