What is orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment is a way of straightening your teeth to improve the appearance of them and the way they work. It can look after the long-term health of your teeth, gums and jaw joints by spreading the biting pressure over your teeth.
Why should I have orthodontic treatment?
Many people have crooked or crowded teeth. Orthodontic treatment can help straighten or move them into a better position. This can improve their appearance and the way teeth bite together, whilst also making them easier to clean.
Some people’s upper front teeth stick out and look unsightly, but orthodontics treatment can make them straighter. Or the way the upper and lower jaws meet can cause poor appearance and lead to an incorrect bite. Orthodontic treatment may be able to correct both of these problems.
What does it involve?
You will need to have a full examination, which is the most important thing. This will usually involve looking at your teeth, taking x-rays and making plaster cast models of your teeth. Your dental team or orthodontist will then discuss what treatments they are able to do. Once you are certain that you wish to go ahead, the treatment can start as soon as you have enough permanent teeth.
How long will it take?
The length of treatment depends of how severe the problem is and may take anything from a few months to two and a half years. However, most people can complete treatment in one to two years.
When the teeth are in the correct position and treatment is finished your teeth need to be held in position. This is called the retention period, the appliances called retainers are used to that hold teeth in place.
The retainers hold newly straightened teeth in position while the surrounding gum and bone settles. The retainers can be removable or fixed, depending on the original problem.