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Willow Dental - The North Wales Dental and Implant Practice


Orthodontics

Orthodontics is a specialist area of dentistry specifically concerning the straightening of teeth and alignment of the jaws. Indeed, the word ortho is Greek for 'straight' and dont for 'teeth'

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics corrects irregularities of the teeth, bite, jaws, and related facial abnormalities to enhance oral health and facial appearance for both children and adults.

An orthodontic problem is known as a malocclusion or 'incorrect bite'. Some of the most common causes of malocclusion are crowded teeth, missing teeth, or misaligned jaws. The cause may be genetic, but it can also be due to an accident, early/late loss of baby teeth or extensive thumb/finger sucking.

In certain cases, when teeth and jaw issues interfere with the patient's eating or speaking, orthodontics is considered as interceptive, preventing tooth wear and periodontal (gum) problems. In other cases, orthodontics is considered as restorative and cosmetic.

While a general dentist handles all issues related to teeth and gum care, they may only treat a few patients with orthodontic needs each year. An orthodontist, like our own Specialist Orthodontist Dr Laurence Masters, receives an additional three years of training after receiving a dental degree. An orthodontist focuses entirely on treating patients for their orthodontic needs and, in addition to specialised training, gains more orthodontic experience from see hundreds of patients a year.

What does orthodontic treatment involve?

Orthodontic treatment involves three phases:

Planning Phase
Your first couple of visits may include the following:
  • A medical and dental history evaluation.
  • Castings or 'moulds' of your teeth.
  • Computer generated photograph of the head and neck that will aid in planning.
  • Photographs of your face and mouth.
  • X-rays of the teeth and jaws.
After careful planning, your orthodontist will design and apply braces or fabricate custom-made appliances for you.
Active Phase
Active treatment involves visiting your orthodontist on a regular basis for adjustments and following specific treatment requirements to ensure successful treatment.
Retention Phase
When treatment is completed, the braces and/or appliances are removed and a new appliance is made. Usually these retainers are removable and will maintain the changes made to your teeth if worn continuously until the teeth and bone are stabilised in their new positions. Treatment and retention times vary depending on each individual case.

What types of treatment methods are used?

Braces and aligners: There are a number of treatment options available to orthodontists today. In addition to traditional metal braces, we also use ceramic (or clear) braces, and we regularly treat patients with the newer technology of Invisalign clear aligners, which have no brackets, wires, or elastic bands.

Orthodontic appliances: Sometimes braces alone cannot properly align a bite. In these situations, we have a number of orthodontic appliances that we use to open a deep bite, to widen the palate (arch), to create space for other teeth, to prevent lower molars from moving forward, and so on.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you be too old for braces?
No, age is not a factor. So long as the gums and bone which supports your teeth are healthy, any age is suitable for braces or orthodontic treatment. About 30% of our orthodontic patients are adults, and that number is still growing. Our oldest patient treated was 72 years old.
Will orthodontic treatment hurt?
Orthodontic treatment mechanics have advanced technologically during the last few years. Introduction of new high-tech wires, smaller braces, innovative accessories and stress of preventive/interceptive treatments make today's orthodontic treatment fairly comfortable. We do not use any anaesthetic injections for any of the procedures. As a rule, braces can cause a little discomfort initially until one gets used to them. Teeth can get a little sore the day after every adjustment appointment, but they are not painful. This annoyance can be relieved easily with over-the-counter pain relievers, if needed. Most of our patients do not need to take any pain relievers. Our staff is always on hand to answer any braces questions.
Can I still have braces if I have missing teeth?
Yes. When teeth are missing, adjacent teeth will drift into the empty space. This will cause functional, aesthetic or periodontal problems. Orthodontic treatment will correct and prevent these problems from happening and will also provide proper alignment for your dentist to replace the missing teeth.

Call us on 01745 585000 or contact us and let our team of experienced professionals talk with you about orthodontic treatment options. We're confident that we can find a solution for you.

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