As more and more people are beginning to take an interest in how their teeth look and in how they can keep them healthy, Orthodontics is a growing area. Now, more than ever before, dental patients have opportunities to choose products that are right for them, so that they feel comfortable undergoing their treatment.
This fact sheet has been written to give you a rapid overview of Orthodontics. It only offers a brief glimpse of the subject and if you are thinking seriously about adjusting your teeth, you should consult a dentist. Hopefully, this fact sheet will give you a clearer idea of what treatments are available and what they involve.
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the name given to the procedures that dentists use to straighten crooked teeth. There are usually two reasons why people want to straighten crooked teeth. The first is purely about confidence – they want to be able to smile without feeling self-conscious. The second reason is to do with oral health. Crooked teeth can lead to problems with cleaning, which in turn leads to poor oral hygiene and decay. They can also put extra stress onto teeth that can become overused during chewing.
In the past, most orthodontic patients were children. Now, as more and more adults recognise the potential for re-designing their smile, orthodontic work is becoming more widespread. As demand grows, new products and treatments are emerging all the time too.
What does the treatment involve?
Orthodontic treatment revolves around the use of braces. In modern dentistry, however, this does not necessarily mean that traditional ‘train track’ braces made of elastic and shiny metal. There are now many different types of brace available that move teeth in different ways and to varying degrees. Some new types of braces are removable and virtually invisible – which is one reason why more adults are choosing to try them.
Is it a slow process?
It depends on how far your teeth need to move. Obviously, teeth do not straighten overnight. It is a gradual process that, for some people, can mean wearing their braces for 2-3 years. This is why so much emphasis is placed on the type of brace or orthodontic treatment you choose. On the one hand, most people prefer something lighter, less visible and more discreet. On the other, it still needs to be strong and powerful enough to move the teeth effectively.
What questions should I ask my dentist?
Most orthodontic programmes begin with a initial consultation with your dentist, during which they will outline the type of treatment they are recommending, how long it will take and how much it will cost.
At this stage, it is important that you have a good understanding of the type of product that your dentist is aiming to use. So, in advance of your consultation, spend some time thinking about what is important to your lifestyle:
- Do you want to play competitive sport? In which case, you may require a removable device.
- Will you feel self-conscious in business meetings or presentations? You may therefore want to discuss invisible or discreet devices.
- How long do you want to wear a brace for? Is there the opportunity to consider some of the more advanced, faster-acting styles?
- And how much do you want to spend? Different treatments can vary in cost by quite a lot.
If you are able to discuss these issues with your dentist, you will be able to agree between you what sort of brace will be the right treatment for you.