Treatments & Services
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Child and Adolescent Orthodontics
Orthodontics is a unique branch of dentistry specializing in the diagnosis and the treatment of developing and established teeth and jaw problems.
It is the foundation service of the dental profession responsible for setting up and adjusting the oral and facial mechanism that is maintained throughout life by the other branches of dentistry.
An orthodontist is a fully qualified dentist who has undergone an additional three to four years of full-time specialist training obtaining a master's degree at university and who exclusively treats orthodontic patients.
Developing orthodontic problems are often treated from as early as 8 years of age to well into adulthood. The optimum age for most orthodontic treatment is in the early teens when all the permanent teeth have erupted and during the accelerated growth period. If the child is too young for active treatment then the child will be placed on a monitoring program and be recalled periodically for reassessment.
Successful orthodontic treatment is reliant on good cooperation from the patient. This team approach ensures that the result achieved is acceptable to both the patient and the orthodontist. Only by working together can this be achieved.
A constant and very gentle pressure is required to move teeth biologically and is carried out by both fixed or removable orthodontic appliances.
These are metal brackets, which are bonded to the outside of the teeth. Very special wires made from different metal alloys are used to impart the critical force level required to optimize the biological tooth movement.
These are made from special plastics and wires and are used for simpler tooth movement, the orthopaedic correction of jaws and as retainers at the end of treatment to help stabilize the final alignment of the teeth.
Clear Essix ("Invisalign-style") removable aligners are also used to align teeth that are not too crooked.
The kind of brace that you are required to wear will depend on the type of problem and you will be advised as to which type will be most effective for you. The duration will depend on the extent of the problem and this can range from anywhere from a few months to a few years.
The Damon System (passive self-ligation)
The Damon fixed brace system that we exclusively use is designed differently from conventional braces. Conventional brace wires are tied in with coloured elastics, which causes more friction and therefore more pressure, making treatment slower and less comfortable.
Damon braces instead us a unique built-in slide mechanism, which reduces friction allowing the use of gentler forces with special alloy wires that seems to move teeth faster, with less discomfort and fewer adjustments. They are also easier to keep clean!
Many people associate braces with school children, but getting braces as an adult is becoming much more common. Almost 20% of braces wearers are now adults. This is mostly due to the rise of more subtle, less visible options like the Damon Clear braces and the Digital Aligners (see below).
The Damon System (passive self-ligation)
With the Damon System of treatment adult treatment now goes along quite quickly with the treatment times being reduced to as little as 18 months. With the force system being substantially lighter it is very much more comfortable. Also with this gentle system we are now able to broaden smiles substantially as we are able to move both the teeth and the surrounding bone. For this reason in many cases we are also able to move the teeth sufficiently to prevent the need for jaw surgery.
Do you suffer from Headaches?
Most headaches (80%) and pain of this nature are caused by a stress related habit of grinding and clenching of teeth. We can help by fitting a "bite splint", which is made from acrylic and is worn on the front teeth while sleeping and is designed to prevent the back teeth from coming into contact.
A person with badly a positioned jaws and bite and have crooked teeth and who clench and grind as well can develop severe neuromuscular problems. These can manifest as headaches and jaw joint (TMJ) discomfort. This can result in painful clicking joints, an inability to open the mouth wide, earache and pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders. All these symptoms are also to be found in people with normal bites who habitually clench and grind their teeth.
How bite splint therapy works!
By preventing the back teeth from touching a bite splint functions by allowing the chewing muscles to relax easing the spasm and associated pain. It also postures the jaw in a more forward direction relieving the pressure inside the joints allowing for better lubrication and healing. It is also known to improve the quality and duration of sleep!
Jaw/bite disharmony can be corrected by orthodontic treatment, however if the clenching and grinding is a habit, which it mostly is, then a bite splint will still need to be worn after treatment and can be combined as a retainer.
This appliance is custom designed from impressions taken of the mouth and the bite.
We are also excited to offer mainly to adults a digital computer aided design clear "Essix" aligner system for less complicated tooth alignment problems.
These are a series of clear aligners, which are fitted in sequence in 2-3 weekly intervals to move teeth incrementally (0.5mm) towards their final alignment. This can take 4-6 months to complete depending on the severity of the tooth malalignment.
Please contact us for any further information you may require and we look forward to attending to your orthodontic needs!
Teeth shift as you get older, and some people's teeth shift more than others. If you didn't wear your retainer as much as the orthodontist recommended, or are simply unlucky with your jaw's natural growth, your teeth can become crooked again. Orthodontists have also recently realised through extensive research that retainers should now be worn much longer than recommended in previous decades, and sometimes indefinitely, to prevent tooth movement. Unfortunately, this means that even adults who were model patients as kids may find themselves needing braces again.
Teeth can shift with age. This can be due to injury, tooth loss, unnatural growth patterns, habits like clenching and grinding of teeth and a tongue thrust when swallowing and so some adults find that their previously natural straight teeth have become crooked and overcrowded.
They may also start experiencing jaw joint pain, gum problems due to difficulties when cleaning teeth, or simply being self conscious about their smile they find unattractive.
it has now been established that chronic gum disease has a definite negative link to your general health and well being.
Overall, many adults see braces as a worthwhile investment of less than 2 years in exchange for decades of straight teeth.
There are instances when we cannot move the teeth sufficiently to achieve a good bite and facial balance. It is then that we need to adjust the jaw positions surgically in conjuction with an oral surgeon. Often adults who have this problem elect not to have the surgery as they are so happy with what has been achieved with the braces alone and are managing with their less than perfect bite without any noticeable side effects.
Six Month Smiles
You may have seen advertised by many general dentists that they use "Fast Braces" and claim they can straighten teeth in six months!
This nothing new! We orthodontists have been doing this for years.
We offer the same kind of treatment, which we call short-term orthodontics. It is a tooth coloured or metal fixed brace system that in about six months works to straighten just your front teeth ("the social six"). We achieve quicker results because we only focus on resolving cosmetic problems with NO bite correction.
We also use digitally designed clear removable Essix aligners, which can improve the alignment of your front teeth in a similar time. The use of one or the other system is dependent on the severity of the crookedness and the space requirements of the front teeth and we will advise you which one is most suitable for you.
It is therefore a compromise form of treatment and also has limitations in the management of space requirements often resulting in the need for filing the enamel between the teeth to create the necessary space.
The fixed brace system (brackets & wires) is the same as we use for our full comprehensive orthodontic treatment, which takes 15 -18 months to complete and doesn't just straighten all your teeth but also improves the way they function and bite together.
It is very important to remember that these short-term systems are not designed to adjust your bite and in some instances your bite may feel even worse after treatment!
The shorter period of treatment is reflected in the price, and obviously costs considerably less than comprehensive orthodontic treatment. This form of treatment is mainly suitable for adults although some adolescents could also benefit.
Please arrange a consultation appointment with us so that we can advise you whether you are a good candidate for short-term orthodontics and which method will serve you best!
Care & Maintenance
It is very important to maintain a healthy mouth throughout your orthodontic treatment to prevent any damage to your teeth and gums. You need to follow a strict cleaning and eating plan.
All your cleaning requirements are available in our oral health shop.
We do not want you to eat foods that would damage your teeth and your braces. Please avoid hard, sticky, chewy foods and fizzy drinks and use your common sense. Cut food into bite size pieces and chew cautiously.
Brush and rinse each time after eating. Thoroughly clean your teeth and braces once a day in the following sequence and the best time is before bedtime. This can take up to 10 minutes!
Super floss is easier to use with braces. You need to thread under the wires then floss as normal.
Clean under the wire next to each bracket in order to remove plague, which your tooth brush may not reach.
Manual or electric? We advise electric brushes. Spend 2 minutes brushing the area between the brace and the gums, this is the "danger zone", then brush the other surfaces as normal.
We advise an antiseptic fluoride mouth rinse which should be used daily before bedtime and then after breakfast for the day.
We use wax to help heal ulcers that may develop from the rubbing of the brace against the inside of your lips and cheeks. These will toughen up in about 10 days to 2 weeks after fitting
Your teeth will be sensitive to bite on in the first few days. Eat softer foods that don't require chewing and take a pain tablet if this bothers you especially before bedtime.
You will need to wear a gum guard over your braces if you play any contact sport.
Oral Hygiene Services
Oral health is essential to general health and well-being at every stage of life. The mouth serves as a "window" to the rest of the body, providing signs and symptoms of general health disorders.
Good oral health is therefore important as any other part of the body and is often neglected to the detriment of the body's total health system. Severe gum disease (periodontitis), apart from the risk of tooth loss, has now been positively linked to heart disease, forms of arthritis, diabetes and even cancer!
We have an oral hygienist, Kathy, who visits our practice on a sessional basis and offers the following services:
- Full oral health and radiographic assessment of teeth, gums and associated structures
- Oral hygiene instruction
- Teeth cleaning (scale and polish)
- Deep scaling for severe gum disease
- Fluoride treatment
- Fissure sealants for children
- Teeth whitening