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Orthodontics

An orthodontic treatment, mainly knows as “braces”, is the treatment of different types of malocclusions, which is the deviation of the position of the teeth and jaws from the normal, healthy bite/ occlusion.

Ortho-dentist

To be able to treat orthodontic cases, a dentist must follow a full time 3 year post graduate program in a designated university clinic, where he/she treats a great number of complex cases, learning in depth about the aetiology, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of all possible malocclusions that can be found in clinical practice.

Why would you need orthodontic treatment?

Your dentist will inform you if you would benefit from having an orthodontic treatment. Some problems are more severe than others, and the most common ones are:

  • Crowding of teeth (not enough space for them)
  • Large overjet (too much space between the upper and lower teeth, teeth sticking out)
  • Deep overbite/ open bite
  • Crossbite (narrow upper jaw, causing asymmetry of the lower face)
  • Premature loss of primary teeth and/or impacted permanent teeth
  • Severe skeletal discrepancies (jaws don’t fit together, facial appearance affected)
  • Adult cases of lost teeth, in need for a pre-prosthetic repositioning of the remaining teeth
All children are recommended to have an orthodontic consult at the age of 7 years, unless otherwise instructed by the dentist. Both children and adults can have their teeth straightened, there is no age limitation!


Your first visit
Your first visit is a consult. If needed, x-rays are taken (usually an OPT in the clinic) and/or a referral is given to you to have another special xray done at the closest hospital (lateral cephalogram). If the treatment is straightforward, a cost estimation is given to you which includes the costs to be expected in the coming months, as well as a treatment plan and time estimate of your treatment. If the treating doctor needs further information from the xrays stated above, a second consult is needed to discuss thoroughly the options and costs. After this appointment, a session is booked for impressions and photos, so that the planned brackets can be prepared.


Types of braces
There are several types of braces we can use, depending on the problem, on aesthetic considerations and on the budget.
Metal brackets. These are the most commonly used fixed brackets, mainly popular among children and adolescences. They are glued on the teeth and cannot be self- removed from the mouth.

Ceramic brackets. These are more aesthetic fixed brackets, made from monocrystalic sapphire. The wire used is metal, so they are not invisible, but they are more discreet. They are more commonly used by adults looking for a more elegant brace that is not very expensive.


Invisalign. This is a series of transparent removable aligners that are changed weekly by the patient. They are fully customized for each patient and every aligner has specific information delivered to the teeth, making it predictable and as fast as possible. The aligners can be removed for eating and brushing, making the oral hygiene much easier.


Lingual braces. The are fixed braces placed on the lingual surface of the teeth, making them fully invisible. There is usually a lisp due to the tongue getting sores from the braces, which go away after a couple of weeks.


What happens after the braces are out?
Your orthodontic treatment can last from a few months to a couple of years. This depends on the problem and the plan we choose to follow. After all orthodontic treatment is finished, we need to use retainers to keep the teeth from moving again.
Depending on the original problem and plan, the retainer can be a fixed metal wire behind the front teeth or a removable night retainer. Sometimes we choose to use both of these retainers to maximize stability.
For a few years after your treatment, you will be expected to come to the practice for a control, always bringing your retainer.


Are there risks in orthodontic treatment?
As in all dental and medical procedures, some risks are present in the course of orthodontic treatment. Some of them are:

  • Root resorption (shortening of the roots of the teeth)
  • White spot lesions (spots around the braces when the brushing was not good enough)
  • Gingivitis (when brushing is inadequate, gums get swollen and bleeding)
  • Pulpitis (tooth ache and/or necrosis on teeth that have had trauma or deep caries/fillings)
  • Injuries, apthae, lesions on gums (when fixed metal brackets are used, parts of them can sometimes cause small reversible irritation on the cheeks and gums)
Your treating ortho-dentist can identify risk factors and will thoroughly explain them individually before active treatment begins.


Taking care of your braces
Detailed oral hygiene instructions are given in order to properly use your toothbrush (electric or manual), interdental brushes, mouthwash). A visit to the dental hygienist is mandatory every 4-6 months. Care needs to be taken so that the braces don’t break (get detached from the teeth). This means that hard and sticky food must be avoided throughout the treatment. Food needs to be cut in small pieces and bitten carefully. Soft drinks and candy also need to be consumed sparsely, to avoid caries and white spots on teeth.


Always inform your dentist for potential allergies, so that a proper appliance can be used for you!

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