What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a specialised branch of dentistry that corrects irregularities of the teeth, jaws and face. This includes crowded, crooked, missing, spaced and prominent teeth. Teeth and jaws that are not in their correct alignment and position (malocclusion) are repositioned to improve the overall appearance and function. Orthodontics aims to provide an attractive smile and a comfortable bite. Braces are used to correct the position and alignment of the teeth. Fixed appliances are the most commonly used braces today because they allow accurate positioning of the teeth.
Why is it important to have orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontics can improve the appearance of the teeth and face.
Normal speech and chewing can be greatly improved by orthodontic treatment.
A bad bite can make biting or chewing difficult or even impossible, and can cause the teeth to wear down.
Crooked teeth are very hard to brush properly. If teeth are not kept clean, this can result in tooth decay, and loss of teeth.
Orthodontic problems can damage the gums and underlying bone structure.
If the jaws are not properly positioned, pain in the jaw joints can result.
Orthodontic problems can get worse if they are neglected; they won’t just “go away”.
If not treated in time, a problem can become more difficult and more expensive to treat later on.
What are the early warning signals of orthodontic problems?
Baby teeth not falling out when they are expected to.
Baby teeth that are lost early from tooth decay.
Top and bottom teeth not meeting properly.
Problems with biting or chewing.
Crooked teeth caused by crowding.
Thumb / finger sucking.
Biting the cheek or roof of the mouth.
Jaws and teeth out of proportion to the rest of the face.
Overcrowding Open Bite Overjet
Why should orthodontic treatment start when your child is young?
When the jaws and teeth are still growing it is much easier to move teeth and influence the position and size of the jaw.
Early treatment will shorten the treatment time.
Treatment of thumb-sucking and abnormal swallowing patterns is more successful in a young child.
Protruding front teeth are easily damaged, so the sooner they are corrected the better.
The space left by the early loss of a baby tooth must be kept open. If left untreated, this space will close, as adjacent teeth will drift into it. The permanent tooth may then not have enough space to grow into and may become impacted. Early treatment can keep the space open and allow the permanent tooth to erupt normally.
Insufficient space for permanent teeth often results in crowding.
When should I have an orthodontic consultation for my child?
At Colm Smith Dental, we believe that jaw growth and development problems can be identified by around the age of seven.
If it is necessary to widen or lengthen the upper or lower jaw, this can usually begin by the age of 10 for girls, and 12 for boys.
Starting early can make the treatment easier and shorter.
What are the stages of orthodontic treatment?
This is a pre-consultation appointment with a dentist of the practice which includes:
Impressions for study models.
Radiographs (if required.)
Brief discussion with patient of complaint and expectations.
Specialist examination with Mr. Keith Isaacson, Consultant Orthodontist.
Guide to treatment options
Guide to cost of treatment and payment plans.
Third visit (optional)
Further discussion with Dr Colm Smith or Dr Aoife Kerr.
Questions and answers with patient
Extraction of teeth (if required)
Fitting of appliances(braces)
Regular appointments to have appliances checked and adjusted.
Removal of appliances and fitting of retainers
Retainers must be worn continuously until the teeth and bone have stabilised in their new positions.
This may be temporary or long term.
How long will orthodontic treatment take to complete?
Treatment takes from a few months to about 3 years. The average is about 2 years. The length of treatment depends on how difficult and complicated the problem is. Some people respond to treatment more quickly than others. Co-operation by the patient, or lack of it, can affect the length of treatment. Once you have been assessed by our consultant orthodontist, Mr Keith Isaacson, he will be able to give you an idea of how long your treatment take.
Is orthodontic treatment painful?
When braces or other orthodontic appliances are first placed in the mouth, some discomfort is experienced, but this soon passes.
Adjustments to appliances may cause temporary pain or discomfort.
The appliances may initially irritate the lips, teeth or tongue, but we will adjust them to minimise any discomfort to you.
How can my child play an active role in their orthodontic treatment?
Children must be motivated by parents to get a good result. This is what to consider and aim for:
Full co-operation by the patient is essential for successful treatment.
Proper regular brushing and flossing are crucial. Healthy teeth and gums must be maintained during orthodontic treatment.
Avoid eating sticky foods (e.g. chewing gum) and crunchy sweets and foods.
Make sure to keep all your appointments with us. It is important that we check and adjust your orthodontic appliances regularly so that treatment is proceeding correctly.
If appliances become loose, you should contact us immediately.
Retainers must be worn exactly as instructed – if the patient doesn’t wear the retainers after the active phase of treatment, the teeth and jaws may replapse toward their old, incorrect positions.
What We Offer?
This practice offers comprehensive orthodontic treatments. These include;
Fixed appliances (Braces). These can be metal braces or tooth coloured braces.
6 month braces
Functional braces – jaw contouring.
Clear braces or Invisalign type braces. Learn More
Squash appliances similar to the Inman appliances.
All our orthodontic patients have their treatment planned by Mr. Keith Isaacson, Consultant Orthodontist. The treatments are carried out by Dr. Colm Smith principal and Dr. Aoife Kerr and assisted by our senior dental nurse, Kelly Hogan.
Some patients may need to see Mr. Isaacson during their orthodontic treatment to monitor their progress. Complex cases are referred to our specialist colleagues.