Orthodontics is a special area of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis, prevention and correction of malocclusion. The term describes the malposition of teeth and jaws. Malocclusion represents the abnormal alignment of the teeth and how the upper and lower teeth fit together.
Orthodontic treatment can focus on several aspects such as dental displacement (crooked teeth). However, it can also deal with the control and modification of facial growth where it may be referred to as dentofacial orthopaedics.
There are many treatment methods available to treat malocclusion and they all have varying levels of success depending on the age of the patient and their requirements.
At Gold Coast Holistic Dental Care, we offer three main types of orthodontic treatments.
This type of treatment is focussed on correcting or improving the function of the mouth and how it affects the growing teeth and jaws. Mouth habits such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting and mouth breathing can be corrected using special mouth appliances like the myomunchie© or myobrace© along with regular speech, breathing and swallowing exercises to help grow straighter teeth. This type of treatment is usually, but not always, performed on children between 4 and 10 years of age. Treatment may last for 18-24 months and whilst it often improves the health of the mouth and the child, the teeth may still further treatment to achieve that perfect smile.
Most people are familiar with orthodontic braces which are either metal or clear devices bonded to the teeth with wires used to move teeth into position. Treatment typically takes 18-24 months and the patient must wear retainers after treatment for several years to maintain the position of the teeth. This type of treatment is suitable for patients of almost any age but usually ages 12 years and up.
Clear aligners such as Invisalign©, Smilestyler© and perfect arch aligners© are the most recently developed methods of straightening teeth. They are custom made clear aligners that are made via computers in a specific sequence to slowly move teeth into new positions. The aligners are removable but need to be worn 23 hours a day and each aligner is worn for 2 weeks before being replaced with the next aligner in the sequence. Just like traditional orthodontics, retainers are needed after alignment is completed.
Each type of treatment has its benefits and shortfalls but briefly;
Myo: best for early intervention of a developing malocclusion and can reduce the need for future orthodontics. Focusses on correcting bad habits and helps develop the muscles of the mouth and face. Heavily dependent on compliance with exercises and wearing appliances for success
Traditional (Braces): best for treating almost all malocclusions and is widely recognised and accepted by patients of all ages. Less dependent on patient compliance and less cosmetic.
Clear Aligners: best for treating adult teeth and is highly cosmetic but also highly dependent on compliance.
Our dentists have many years’ experience in treating malocclusion and can help you decide which type of orthodontic treatment would be best suited to you or your child’s particular needs.