What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the specialty of dentistry focused on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of problems in alignment of the teeth and jaws.
Orthodontics can boost a person’s self-image as the teeth, jaws and lips become properly aligned — but an attractive smile is just one of the benefits. Alleviating or preventing physical health problems is just as important. Without treatment, orthodontic problems may lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bone destruction and chewing and digestive difficulties. A “bad bite” can contribute to speech impairments, tooth loss, chipped teeth and other dental injuries.
Who Needs Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is beneficial to both adults and children alike. The Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends initial orthodontic assessment by the time the front permanent teeth erupt (around seven years of age). Most often no treatment is required, however some orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected early, rather than waiting until jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean a patient will avoid surgery or other serious corrections later in life.
Orthodontists can improve the smile of practically anyone. In fact, orthodontists regularly treat patients in their 40s, 50’s and older! It’s never too late because healthy teeth can be moved at any age. Adults are discovering that recent innovations that use sophisticated engineering ensure less time is spent in braces. Options including Invisalign and clear braces fit easily into today’s active lifestyles. They’re comfortable, easy to keep clean and less visible than in the past. New techniques and materials can extend the period between appointments, saving time and expense.
Dentist or Orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dentist who has received three years of full-time specialised training in orthodontics. This is on top of the five years spent training as a general dentist.
The years of study combined with treating hundreds of cases every year gives your orthodontist a specialised understanding of growth and development of the teeth and jaws. Some dentists may offer orthodontic treatment, however there is no substitute for experience: the experience that comes from doing something you are specifically trained for, all day, every day - and love doing.