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Orthodontics

Orthodontics is a common cosmetic dental procedure that helps straighten teeth of individuals with crooked or uneven teeth. This process helps to improve the overall appearance of your teeth, giving you a natural smile and a greatly improved bite when you eat food.

What is orthodontics and what does it involve?

As previously mentioned, orthodontics is a dental procedure that helps to straighten your teeth. This is a long-term solution to crooked teeth and there are a number of ways in which orthodontics procedures are now carried out.

Orthodontics is a subspecialty area in dentistry that focuses on aligning teeth using wires and brackets that apply force to the teeth to move them into a particular position. These wires and brackets are commonly known as braces and will be regularly tightened by your dentist as part of the aligning process.

The length of time for this process will vary from patient to patient and really depends on the current state of your teeth. Orthodontics treatments have advanced a lot in recent years leading to quicker treatments that are much more comfortable for patients. The length of treatment varies per patient but treatments can usually last anything from a few months to a year or in some cases 24 months. In some instances teeth will need to be removed before the treatment can begin.

Why should you consider orthodontics treatments?

Patients who have problems with their bite and the way their top and bottom teeth line up against each other should consider having orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic treatment will move the teeth into a better position, making them much straighter and ultimately improving their appearance and the way the teeth bite together. This also makes your teeth easier to clean and maintain something that will help you look after them much easier.

Orthodontics treatments however do require good oral hygiene habits by the patient and regular visits to your dentist before, during and after the treatment for check-ups and adjustments. Many teenagers and adults have problems with the positioning of one or many of their teeth and this can lead to problems when it comes to biting and eating food. These problems can lead to teeth becoming more damaged over time making it harder for you to eat properly.

When your teeth don't meet correctly, this can sometimes put pressure on your jaw muscles which can lead to aches and pains around your jaw and the joints with your teeth often leading to headaches. This abnormal development of your teeth can impact on your jaw affecting the shape of your face. Orthodontics treatments is the best way to correct these problems, considerably easing the pain that many patients suffer due to crooked teeth and sore jaws.

It’s not just the pain of crooked teeth that can lead to individuals seeking orthodontics treatments as often your top teeth can look unsightly if not aligned properly. For many patients, particularly adults, this can cause problems with self-confidence. Orthodontics can help move your teeth back in line allowing your confidence to smile again to return as a result.

What are the main benefits of orthodontics treatments?

The main benefit of having orthodontic treatment is that straighter teeth are healthier teeth. When your bite is properly aligned and your teeth are straightened there are less gaps and areas for food to get trapped and plaque to build up on your teeth. A build-up of plaque causes decay and this can lead to dental problems including loss of teeth, so having your teeth straightened to improve your bite will ultimately lead to healthier teeth for longer. In that sense, orthodontics is a long-term investment in your oral health.

What type of orthodontics treatments are available? Metal braces

The most common type of orthodontics treatments in recent years is metallic braces which are placed on the front of your teeth. These are fixed securely to the front of your teeth and tightened on a regular basis to straighten your teeth. Metal braces are the cheapest type of orthodontics procedure.

Ceramic braces

Ceramic braces are like metal braces in that they are fitted to the front of your teeth. They also tend to be the same size and style as metal braces. The only difference is their colour. Ceramic braces are more similar to the natural colour of your teeth meaning they are less noticeable, something that has made them popular with many adults who seek orthodontics. These braces can stain easily however if they are not looked after properly.

Invisible aligner braces

The final type of invisible brace that is popular is removable plastic aligners. These are plastic moulds that are custom made to fit your mouth and changed every few weeks. These type of braces are very expensive but do allow patients to continue eating most foods and will also be invisible.

Inman Aligner

Inman Aligner - Orthodontics BelfastThe Inman Aligner is a removable set of braces that are fitted to your front set of teeth. They are aimed at providing a simple, quick and pain free solution to aligning your teeth, with some procedures lasting as little as six weeks.

The Inman Aligner uses springs made from titanium to power aligners and quickly guide your teeth into the desired position. This is a gentle process and the force of the aligners cover a large range of movement in your mouth. This movement is how Inman Aligners work so quickly. It is recommended that you wear your Inman Aligner for at least 16 hours a day and arrange a check-up every two weeks.

How old do you need to be to get braces?

It’s best to get braces fitted when you are younger so orthodontics treatments are highly recommended for teenagers as this allows your teeth to be shaped while they are still growing into the shape of your jaw. There is no real age limit to getting orthodontics and while it is best advised to do so when you are young (ideally low teenage years), it’s important that you have the right number of teeth in place before starting the treatment.

Caring for your teeth during and after braces

Your orthodontics treatment will only be a success if you look after your teeth both during and after the process. Keeping your teeth clean during orthodontics can be a challenge for man due to the placement of braces but it’s important to ensure you clean your teeth on additional occasions during the day when your braces are in place. Patients should also try to cut down on food and drink that is bad for teeth and it is recommended to use a fluoride based toothpaste when cleaning your teeth.

Once your teeth have been straightened and the orthodontics treatment has finished, your teeth will need to be held in this new position for a bit of time (usually a month). This is known as the retention period and a plastic retainer is used to hold the newly positioned teeth in place with your gums and jaw. You will initially wear this retainer all day and then wear it overnight until your dentist is satisfied with the positioning of the teeth.

Once your orthodontics treatment is complete it’s important to ensure you maintain a good level of oral health. This means regular daily cleaning of your teeth, reducing the amount of sweet and fizzy foods you consume and also visiting your dentist on a regular basis for a check-up and clean.

If you require orthodontics to help correct a dental problem of your own get in touch with our dental team today to arrange a consultation.

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This patient was very unhappy with the appearance of her lower front teeth. For as long as she could remember her lower front teeth were not straight. We used an Inman aligner to do the bulk of the straightening and finished this case with clear aligners. The total time for treatment was 4 months.

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