Child and Adolescent Orthodontics
The Growing Child
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.
Fixed braces: 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.
Removable braces: 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!