Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with straightening and correcting the tooth alignment and the dental specialist who does this is called an "Orthodontist". Braces are the most efficient and accurate way of moving teeth.

Who Needs Orthodontic Treatment?
Today children as well as adults are choosing to have orthodontic treatment. More than half of all children have problems with their teeth or jaws, including front teeth that stick out because of thumb sucking, teeth that don't come out properly, spaces in between the teeth, poorly aligned bites, and crowded or missing teeth. The key is early orthodontic care. The ideal age to get your child for the First Orthodontic check-up is 7-8 years.

For teens and grownups, the most common reason for orthodontics is appearance. age is no longer a factor that governs the feasibility of the treatment. But as you grow older the duration of the treatment is increased since it is easier to shift and align teeth during the growth phase of the jaws.

What Orthodontist does?
Their work consists of treating different conditions such as tooth crowding, malaligned teeth, overbites, underbites and gaps between teeth.
They use corrective appliances such as braces, removable appliances and retainers to treat these problems.
The results of orthodontic treatment can be dramatic - beautiful smiles, improved dental health and an enhanced quality of life for many people of all ages.

Extractions and other preliminary procedures
Sometimes it is necessary to remove teeth to gain sufficient space to align the remaining teeth. Any decayed teeth should be filled and the teeth sometimes need to be cleaned before orthodontic treatment is started.

How Long?
Orthodontic treatment usually takes 18 - 24 months. Some cases may be finished earlier and others may take longer to complete. The total treatment time depends on the severity of the original malocclusion, the type of treatment carried out, and the co-operation of the patient.

Types of braces available?

Metal Braces

Metal brackets are the ones that are most frequently used. They appear as small metal buttons that are glued to the front of each tooth. These tend to be less expensive than other types of brackets. Additionally, they can be made colorful with ligature rubber bands that come in a wide range of colors.

Ceramic (Tooth Colored) Braces

Ceramic brackets are made of composite materials. They are very strong and generally do not stain. Adults like to choose ceramic because they "blend in" with the teeth and are less noticeable than metal. The ligatures (tiny rubber bands) that hold the arch wire on to the ceramic brackets are often white or clear. This looks great at first, but the ligatures can stain. Unless you eat a lot of curry, smoke, or drink a lot of black coffee, this generally isn't a problem. Note that the ligatures are changed each time you get an adjustment -- usually, monthly. It's only the ligatures that stain, not the brackets themselves!

Lingual /Invisible Braces

These are the ultimate in brace concealing technology. They are placed on the backs of your teeth so nobody will even see that you have them on, unless they get an up close and personal look at the inside of your mouth.

Usually, lingual brackets are made of metal.

Orthodontists need special training to be able to treat patients with lingual braces. Therefore, not every orthodontist provides them.

Features of lingual braces:

  • They tend to hurt your tongue and make it difficult to speak at first.
  • More expensive than traditional metal, because treatment is specialized.
  • Treatment may be longer than traditional braces.
  • Not every orthodontist does lingual treatment.
  • Lingual treatment may not be applicable for all types of cases.


Orthodontics for Adults

Q. At what age is a patient too old for orthodontics?
A. Patients who have teeth and healthy supporting structures are never too old for orthodontic therapy. Age is not a factor.

Q. Why are adults seeking orthodontics in increasing numbers?
A. Many adults are receiving orthodontic care that was not available to them as children. They realize that improving the health of their mouths and the attractiveness of their smiles and facial appearances can result in changes for the better in their personal, social, and professional lives. Technical advances have also had an impact on adult therapy.

What are some of those advances?
A. Advanced technology has produced small tooth-colored brackets that are barely noticeable. Specially alloyed wires are more comfortable, can speed up treatment, and may decrease the number of necessary appointments. New retainers can be placed where they do not show. Also, advanced surgical techniques now allow treatment of many skeletal problems after growth is completed.