Orthodontics is specialised dentistry that corrects teeth and jaws that are positioned improperly.
Teeth that do not fit together correctly or crooked teeth and are harder to keep clean and can be lost prematurely to tooth decay and periodontal disease, also causing damaging stress on the chewing muscles that can cause headaches, TMJ problems as well as neck, shoulder and back pain.
Benefits of orthodontic treatment include a healthier mouth, a more pleasing appearance, and teeth that are more likely to last a lifetime.
Australian Orthodontists are specialist in this field. Australian Orthodontists receive two or more years of education beyond their four years in dental school in an approved orthodontic training program.
How do I Know if I Need Orthodontics? Your dentist or Australian orthodontists can determine whether you can benefit from orthodontics.
Australian Orthodontists diagnostics include a full medical and dental health history, a clinical exam, plaster models of your teeth, and special X-rays and photographs
An orthodontist or dentist can decide whether orthodontics would be of benefit, and develop a plan that's right for you.
The following are typical issues for orthodontic treatment:
Overbite : sometimes called "buck teeth" the upper front teeth are too far forward and â€˜stick outâ€™ over the lower teeth
Under bite : the lower teeth are too far forward or the upper teeth too far back
Cross bite : the upper teeth do not come down slightly in front of the lower teeth when biting normally
Open bite : space between the biting surface of the front or side teeth when the back teeth bite together
Misplaced midline : the centre of your upper front teeth does not line up with the centre of the lower front teeth
Spacing : gaps between the teeth as a result of missing teeth or teeth that do not "fill up" the mouth
Crowding : when there are too many teeth for the dental ridge to fit
How Does Australian Orthodontists Treatment Work? Many different types of appliances which can be fixed and removable are used to move teeth, retrain muscles and gently influence the growth of the jaws.
These appliances work by placing gentle pressure on the teeth and jaws. Your individual problem will determine which orthodontic approach will be the most effective.
Fixed appliances include:
Australian Orthodontists Braces - the most common fixed appliances, braces consist of bands, wires and/or brackets. Bands are fixed around the teeth or tooth and used as anchors for the appliance, while brackets are most often bonded to the front of the tooth. Arch wires are passed through the brackets and attached to the bands. Tightening the arch wire puts tension on the teeth, gradually moving them to their proper 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 children as well as clear styles preferred by many adults.
Australian Orthodontists Special fixed appliances - used to control thumb sucking or tongue thrusting; these appliances are attached to the teeth by bands. Because they are very uncomfortable during meals, they should be used only as a last resort.
Australian Orthodontists Fixed space maintainers - if a baby tooth is lost prematurely, a space maintainer is used to keep the space open until the permanent tooth erupts. A band is attached to the tooth next to the empty space, and a wire is extended to the tooth on the other side of the space.
Australian Orthodontists Removable appliances include:
Aligners - an alternative to traditional braces for adults, serial aligners are being used by an increasing number of orthodontists to move teeth in the same way that fixed appliances work, only without metal wires and brackets. Aligners are virtually invisible and are removed for eating, brushing and flossing.
Removable space maintainers - these devices serve the same function as fixed space maintainers. They're made with an acrylic base that fits over the jaw, and have plastic or wire branches between specific teeth to keep the space between them open.
Jaw repositioning appliances - also called splints, these devices are worn on either the top or lower jaw or help train the jaw to close in a more favourable position. They may be used for temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).
Lip and cheek bumpers - these are designed to keep the lips or cheeks away from the teeth. Lip and cheek muscles can exert pressure on the teeth, and these bumpers help relieve that pressure.
Palatal expander - a device used to widen the arch of the upper jaw. It is a plastic plate that fits over the roof of the mouth. Outward pressure applied to the plate by screws force the joints in the bones of the palate to open lengthwise, widening the palatal area.
Removable retainers - worn on the roof of the mouth, these devices prevent shifting of the teeth to their previous position. They can also be modified and used to prevent thumb sucking.
Headgear - with this device, a strap is placed around the back of the head and attached to a metal wire in front, or face bow. Headgear slows the growth of the upper jaw, and holds the back teeth where they are while the front teeth are pulled back.