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Conventional Braces

Fixed Braces (orthodontics), Orthopaedics (orthotropics)

Orthodontic treatment has hardly changed in the last century. Some teeth are removed to make space for others and the rest are straightened with fixed braces. However research has been done that shows that the resultant facial appearance is often unfavourable and the teeth go crooked again unless the patient wears retainers for life.

Parents are not often given the option of orthopaedics which aims to guide the growth of the jaws while the child is young, and can provide the same or better results as orthodontics, often without the need for extractions.

Orthopaedics also has the advantage of the end result being more stable, greatly reducing the risk of relapse to the crooked state. Facial features can also be dramatically improved. Orthopaedics is basically changing the size, shape and relationship of the bones of the face and jaws to create symmetry.

Orthodontics is basically straightening and aligning teeth without necessarily considering the size and position of the bones. The skeletal discrepancies are accepted and the teeth made to fit the jaws rather than guiding the growth of a child to allow the teeth to fit the jaws better.

To the functional jaw orthopaedist, the most important objective for his/her patient is not just to have a straight set of teeth, but a healthy jaw joint (TMJ), balanced face and full smile supporting the lips, cheeks and housing the tongue comfortably in the vault of the upper jaw.

The Simple Concept Of Orthopaedics Suggest That The Dental Overcrowding Is Not Due To Their Being Too Many Teeth, But To The Fact That Actual Growth Has Not Reached Its True Growth And Genetic Potential.

 

Growth Discrepancies These can lead to:
  • A narrow palate and high arch
  • ENT problems (ear and breathing problems)
  • Mouth breathing and poor lip seal
  • Facial disharmony
  • Lower jaw well behind upper jaw
  • Overcrowded teeth
  • Lower jaw well in front of upper jaw
  • Spinal imbalance
  • Lower jaw deviating to one side
  • Poor tooth function resulting
    in pain or broken teeth
  • Overcrowded teeth
  • Headaches
  • Teeth that do not meet normally
  • Being self conscious
  • Jaw joint pain / dysfunction
  • Learning difficulties

 

What caused the problem?
The exact cause of every orthodontic problem is not known but habits such as thumb, digit or other object sucking can contribute to this. Most are more complex but genetics has little to do with it. Teeth can be too large or too small but this is not common. Early treatment is best if the problem is growth related. Most fall into this category. If the problem is simply ‘crooked teeth’ then waiting until all the permanent teeth are through may be recommended.

How Is Treatment Carried Out
Early development (before the permanent teeth are in place) is done largely with removable appliances. These sometimes have to be worn whilst eating but can be removed to clean or in special circumstances like singing and playing instruments. The more the appliance is worn the quicker the treatment phase.

Can We Treat Only With Removables?
Not usually. Sometimes all the teeth will align correctly with orthopaedics but everyone should be prepared to complete the second phase with fixed braces.

Will The Appliance Affect Speech?
Children will talk strangely at first, but they adapt quickly if they wear the appliance full time.