about orthodontics

Orthodontics explained

Orthodontics is the field of dentistry that specialised in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. These problems are classified as “malocclusion”, meaning “bad bite”.

If your child has any of the following symptoms, then a poor bite may be responsible.

  • Difficulty in chewing due to pain or difficulty in biting the teeth together
  • Facial muscle or jaw pain
  • Permanent teeth coming in (erupting) out of their normal position
  • Problems with biting the cheek or roof of the mouth
  • Speech difficulties

Children’s orthopaedics

Early orthodontic treatment (orthopaedics) usually begins before the eruption of all the adult teeth.

Dr Westmore will aim to guide the growth of the jaws to make adequate space for the eruption of all the permanent teeth. Children should be evaluated around the age of nine to see if there is a bone problem (orthopaedic) or a tooth problem (orthodontic).

There are many positive reasons for your child to be assessed early for possible alignment and space problems, including to:

  • Improve profiles, smiles and self esteem
  • Correct harmful habits, such as thumb sucking and tongue thrusting
  • Improve speech and reduce airway constriction
  • Reduce the time in fixed braces and frequently eliminates the need for the extraction of permanent teeth
  • Increase nasal breathing
  • Create beautiful broad smiles

Early treatment

During this phase, treatment can range from simple supervision and guidance of the maturing teeth, to the use of fixed and removable appliances. These devices either apply direct force to the teeth and jaw bones, or stimulate and redirect naturally occurring functional forces.

The aim at this stage of treatment is to intercept and prevent incorrect bites from fully developing.

In summary, “early treatment may prevent the need for future treatment or reduce its complexity”

Children’s orthodontics

1. Types of Appliances:

Whilst your child is still growing, functional appliances can be used to help solve the problem of narrow upper and lower jaws, which could cause crowding of the permanent teeth. Functional appliances are usually removable plates that fit over the teeth and change the bite to achieve a more desirable jaw position.

After the orthopaedic treatment with functional appliances, fixed braces usually follows. If your child is 12 or 13 years old, this may be the stage that their treatment will begin using fixed braces to move the teeth into the desired alignment.

Orthodontic treatment using braces usually begins when most of the permanent teeth have erupted.

2. Braces:

Braces are the small, square attachments (called brackets) that are bonded with special orthodontic adhesive to the teeth. There is a small slot in the middle of the bracket into which the orthodontic arch wire fits. In order to hold the wire in place, small tiny elastics are wrapped around the outside of the braces. It is the combination of the braces, the wire and the elastics that help the tooth move into its proper position.

3. Removal sequential aligners:

Sequential aligners are designed to straighten the teeth by using digital technology to make a number of plates that each move the teeth a small amount and when worn 20 hours a day can make significant changes in the  alignment of the teeth.