Orthodontics is a specialised branch of dentistry that solely focuses on the development of the face, teeth and jaws to achieve optimum function and aesthetics and ultimately enhances your self esteem and smile.
Orthodontic irregularities are generally treated with Orthodontic Appliances, also known as braces. They can be Fixed or Removable and they help move teeth, retrain muscles and affect the growth of the jaws by applying gentle forces to teeth and encouraging them to move slowly and adopt a different alignment.
Orthodontic treatment takes at least 18 months to complete with regular visits to the orthodontist and requires significant commitment from the patient. The results, however, are worth it!
The full benefits of having Orthodontic Treatment are:
• Good appearance and great smile
Bedale Dental Practice offers NHS Orthodontic Treatment to Children and Private Orthodontic Treatment to both Adult and Children.
Adults – It is never too late to have orthodontic treatment and we offer payment plans to help with the cost.
There are many different types of appliances which include:
A fixed brace more commonly known as ‘train tracks’, is one of the most effective ways of straightening teeth.
Bands are fixed around the back teeth and used as anchors for the appliance; brackets are then bonded on to the front of each tooth in the arch. These are made from stainless steel and are grey in colour, but there are tooth coloured ceramic brackets available for adults. Arch wires are passed through the brackets and attached to the bands. The arch wire is held in place by coloured or clear ligatures, which are changed every month. Tightening or changing the arch wire puts tension on the teeth, gradually moving them to their correct position.
Braces are usually adjusted monthly to bring about the desired results, which may be achieved within a few months to a few years. Today's braces are smaller, lighter and show far less metal than in the past. They come in bright colours for kids as well as clear styles preferred by many adults.
Problems which may occur while you have a fixed brace on
• Protruding wire
Occasionally the end of a wire will work itself out of place and irritate the mouth. If the wire can be moved try using a cotton wool bud, to push it flat against the tooth.
If the wire can not be moved then place a pea size piece of relief wax over it.
Phone the practice to arrange an appointment to have the wire snipped off.
• Loose brackets, wires or bands
If a bracket has become loose don’t worry you don’t have to rush to the dental practice straight away. It is quite common for a bracket to become loose if you are eating hard or sticky food, if you can not obtain an appointment at your dental practice there is a “quick fix” solution you can do at home, simple take hold of the bracket with a pair of clean tweezers, and slide it back into the centre of the tooth. Place a small amount of wax over the bracket to help hold it in place and prevent irritation of the lip.
• Ligatures come off
These are the tiny rubber bands placed around the bracket which hold the wire in place. These can snap off or become loose. If one becomes loose you can replace it but using clean tweezers and stretching it back over the bracket. If more than one comes off it is recommended to contact your dental practice.
• Irritation of lips or cheeks
As your lips and cheeks will not be used to having brackets on the teeth they may become sore and irritated. To prevent ulcerations place a small amount of relief wax over the bracket. The area should improve within a few days but if it proceeds to get worse please contact your dental practice. The use of some analgesics will help to ease any pain.
• Food caught between teeth
If food is caught between teeth this is not an emergency, simply take a small, (usually pink) interdental brush and slide it between the teeth to dislodge any food. You can also use a specialised orthodontic tooth brush, this has a small sized head at one end for regular brushing and an interdental brush at the other for instances like this. It can also be used to carefully clean around the brackets and under the wire to remove any food deposits.
Also know as Twin blocks. They are used to correct the bite by encouraging the lower jaw to move forward and at the same time encouraging the upper front teeth to move backwards into the correct biting position.
Twin blocks are an appliance which can be removed from the mouth and this is advised for eating, cleaning and playing sports.
It may take a while to become accustomed to this appliance but ‘The more you wear it the quicker it will work’
Patients are required to maintain their appliance by cleaning it every morning and every night using a tooth brush under running water. It is advised to half fill the basin with water first so that if the appliance is dropped it will prevent it from being broken against the enamel.
Most removable appliances are made of acrylic and have a metal wire surrounding the front teeth and clasps around the back teeth.
There are many types of removable appliances, some are active and some are passive.
An example of an Active appliance is an expansion plate, which is deliberately split in the middle and houses an expansion screw. This is then turned weekly with a key to put pressure on the teeth to gently expand the arch. The active appliance is usually the stage before fixed appliances, but is not always the case.
An example of a Passive appliance is a Retainer. This is fitted once your Fixed appliance has been removed. This holds your teeth stable and stationary in the desired arch or position, while assisting the adjustment of the surrounding gums and changes in the bone.
All Removable appliances may affect your speech and you may produce more saliva than usual but in time you will get used to it.
If you have a Retainer with clasps on the back, you will be advised to wear the retainer 24 hours a day and to only remove it to be cleaned or when playing sports.
If you have a Retainer which is Transparent with no clasps, you will be advised to remove the Retainer when you are eating as well as sports and when it is to be cleaned.
You must clean both Retainers in the morning, night and after meal times, under running water and with a tooth brush; if the retainer is not being worn it should be kept in the hard plastic container given to you from your dental practice.
You should wear your appliance as much as possible to stop your teeth from drifting. As your teeth have been under strain from the fixed appliance they may move slightly if the retainer is not worn. ‘The more you wear the retainer the better and faster the results will be.
If you break your retainer you will need an appointment as soon as possible with your dental practice to get this repaired, as the breakage may slow your treatment.