Orthodontics are a fairly routine dental specialism and refer to the use of specific treatments in order to improve the appearance and alignment of teeth that are crooked, overlapping, crowded or protruding, or to correct problems with your bite. Since teeth all come through at different times, orthodontic issues are very common, and most people can benefit from some degree of orthodontic treatment. One of the best ways to determine if you need orthodontic treatment is to attend an ortho screening appointment.
Current guidelines from the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommend that all children receive an orthodontic screening by the age of 7. This first, initial screening is usually used to identify whether orthodontic treatment will be needed in the future. However, it usually isn’t until the majority of adult teeth have come through that a child or teenager can actually undergo a comprehensive ortho(dontic) screening appointment.
Ortho screening is an appointment that is used to determine what orthodontic issues you have, and which is the best type of orthodontic solution to resolve them. In the past, patients were very limited in what treatments were available. Fortunately, innovations within the field mean that now, patients have a number of different options to choose from. Each is a little different, and our knowledgeable team will use your ortho screening appointment to explain each to you and make a recommendation as to the best one for your requirements.
Here is what you need to know about the orthodontic treatment options that are currently available.
The most well-known variety of orthodontic treatment, braces are often very different to what people imagine them to be. This is because their design has evolved to be far more discreet than before. The brackets, which are placed onto the teeth, are smaller and are available in different colored metals as well as in clear ceramic, which offers the greatest discretion of all. The wire that is fed through is much thinner, and the overall appearance once in place is less obvious than before. In fact, the color options mean that some kids find their braces to be an extension of their style.
Braces work by placing pressure on to the teeth and jaw so that they move in a specific way and are driven into a new and improved position. Regular adjustments to the braces are needed to encourage this movement and you can expect to see your orthodontist every six to twelve weeks for these to take place. Braces present the wearer with two key challenges. The first is eating, and there will be a whole list of foods that you will need to avoid since they can cause damage to your brace, such as things that are hard, sticky or chewy. The other challenge is keeping your teeth clean since maneuvering around the brackets and wires can be difficult. Nevertheless, with proper care and attention, braces are a highly successful and effective orthodontic treatment.
Invisalign is a very popular alternative to conventional braces. The solution uses clear, plastic aligners instead of braces although the concept behind the treatment is the same. Each aligner is slightly different and encourages teeth to shift slightly towards their final position. Each aligner must be worn for a minimum of 22 hours per day and only removed for cleaning and eating. Failure to wear the aligners for the allotted time can delay and even compromise the success of your treatment. Instead of going to your dentist to have a brace adjustment, you simply move on to the next aligner in the next series as per the schedule of treatment you are provided.
Invisalign offers patients a number of benefits compared to braces. These include:
Discretion, since the aligners are made from clear plastic with no metal parts
Comfort, as there are no bits of metal bracket or wire to catch your tongue or the inside of your cheeks on
Convenience, since you don’t have to worry about what you are eating thanks to the removability of your aligners
Better oral health, because it is much easier to brush your teeth and keep your aligners clean
Greater confidence during treatment
A predictable and visible treatment outcome thanks to Invisalign technology
Invisalign is the most well-known provider of clear aligners for orthodontic treatment. However, there are a few other brands available and our team would be happy to discuss these with you at your ortho screening appointment.