At its most fundamental level, orthodontics is the art of straightening the teeth. We use a range of techniques to move and straighten the teeth for both cosmetic and functional purposes. As well as simply helping our patients to achieve a smile they can be proud of, orthodontics also involves functional aspects such as expanding cross bites, correcting thumb sucking habits and making overall improvements to your dental health.
While orthodontics is perhaps most commonly linked to childhood braces, the good news is that it has something to offer patients of all ages. Its true that some orthodontic issue- such as malocclusion - are best dealt with from a younger age to achieve more stable results. However, adult orthodontics is becoming very popular. I definitely find that orthodontic work is more acceptable for adult patients these days, and more of my adult patients are directly asking for it. I think this new demand comes along with the advent of innovative orthodontic products like clear braces and also the new clear aligner technology.
2. Orthodontics can be invisible
Invisalign and ClearCorrect, for example, have been a real breakthrough in the orthodontics industry. These products are basically invisible, which means patients can wear them without people really noticing. This is ideal for many of my adult patients who may feel self-conscious about wearing traditional braces - especially in a professional context where they may be called upon to give presentations or speeches and are worried that more cumbersome traditional braces may affect their professional appearance.
3. Orthodontics is for seniors too
But its not about just looking good for work. Many of my patients in their 60s are choosing to have orthodontic work done. This often involves what we call pre-restoratives. So, if an older patient wants to finally get their teeth looking better we can use de-rotating to move their teeth into the right spots. Then we can apply crowns once the teeth are in the correct position to achieve much better results.
4. Orthodontics doesn't require expensive specialists
This kind of technology also means that many patients can have basic orthodontic work carried out at your regular dentist without the need to visit a specialised orthodontist. Its certainly our goal to offer a facility that means our patients don't have to go elsewhere for simple orthodontic work. This is particularly helpful for patients who value the convenience of visiting their local dentist for follow-up appointments, rather than having to travel to a specialist orthodontics practice. If we take Invisalign as an example, patients need to replace their liners every two weeks and we like to see them on a four-weekly schedule. So that means they'll need to come into our practice once a month. While most of my local patients are happy to oblige, this can be a big ask if you have to attend an out-of-town orthodontist that requires some travel time. So, whether you need some functional work done, or are just looking for a cosmetic boost, orthodontics is now open to all ages and is easier than ever.