What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the field of dentistry associated with jaw and tooth structure complications. It is estimated that 80% of the population suffer at the hands of malocclusion (which means their teeth do not fit their jaw). This can affect the rate at which their teeth wear, as well as their overall jaw joint health. What many people do not realise, is that orthodontist are trained dentists – they posses all the knowledge that a dentist does, however, they are experts in one one field – if your dentist is your GP, then your orthodontist is a specialist you might visit in hospital when you go to the fracture clinic or the anesthetist
Orthodontic treatment will start with your orthodontist thoroughly studying your mouth and taking x-rays (which you will be allowed to see and ask questions about. You and your dentist will discuss the best way forward and talk you through the different types of treatments available to you, as well as the advantages of each. Here are a few of the most popular orthodontic treatments available…
Traditional metal braces
When you think of braces, these are probably the type that spring to mind. Traditional metal braces are the oldest type of orthodontic treatment, having evolved through many different phases before becoming what they are today. Many patients used to be put off by these due to their heavy-duty design, though this has changed. With smaller brackets and lighter materials than in the past, these are now more comfortable and hassle-free than ever. Traditional metal braces treatment generally takes between 18 months and a year to yield successful results that last a lifetime. Today’s metal braces also use heat-activated archwire which channel your own body heat into moving your teeth into place less painfully and faster than before.
Arguably one of the most significant developments in orthodontics to date, Invisalign is non-invasive way to a straighter smile. Invisalign is a set of removable aligners that place much of the responsibility into the patient’s hands. Every 2 weeks, the patient should replace the aligners, which should be worn 22 hours a day. Invisalign are designed to be as adaptable to the patient’s day-to-day life as possible. The aligners are almost invisible and therefore mostly go unnoticed by others, which makes them popular with adults in the workplace. So if you’re self-conscious about undergoing orthodontic treatment, Invisalign is a great cosmetic option.
These are of a similar design to traditional metal braces, except that the components (brackets and wires) are on the inside of your teeth. They’re a fixed metal appliance but as they’re designed to go on the inside of your teeth, they share the same cosmetic advantages as Invisalign, generally going unnoticed by others.
Similar in size and shape to traditional metal braces, ceramic braces have the cosmetic assets of Invisalign and lingual braces, though this is achieved through their use of tooth-coloured and clear brackets, allowing them to blend in with your teeth. Ceramic braces combine the reliability and success rate of fixed metal braces with the aesthetics of Invisalign.