We offer a range of orthodontic treatment options for people of all ages, including fixed and removable appliances based on the best science and technology available. Your comfort and concerns are a priority to us, as is achieving a great result as efficiently as possible.
For most people the best time to have orthodontic treatment is during early adolescence. By then most, if not all, of the permanent teeth will be present, and we can use the adolescent growth spurt to our advantage.
Early treatment is used if we think it will:
- Eliminate the need for further treatment
- Simplify treatment later
- Prevent damage to the teeth/gums
- Improve a child’s confidence if they are being teased about their teeth
It is generally a short course of treatment (6-8 months) aiming to address 1-2 issues only. Early treatment might include partial braces, removable plates, or fixed jaw expanders.
While there are only a few instances in which we recommend early treatment, we still love seeing kids between 8-10 years if possible. This allows us to meet your lovely children and they can grow comfortable attending our practice. We love seeing their wee personalities develop over the years as we review them. They’re more likely to appreciate our (pretty lame) jokes at that age too.
At these preliminary visits we are mostly screening for
- Missing teeth
- Impacted teeth
- Damage (usually soft tissue) resulting from a poor bite
- Early crowding
- Jaw/bite relationships
- Oral hygiene and caries experience
- Chalky teeth/enamel hypomineralization
- Habits which may be affecting the teeth/jaws
We can often give you an indication of the likelihood that treatment will be required long-term which gives you plenty of time to plan financially.
Having early treatment doesn’t always eliminate the need for a second phase of comprehensive treatment during adolescence so the benefit does need to be carefully considered.
The situations that may require early intervention include:
Cross-bites usually involve either the back teeth – due to narrow upper jaw or the front teeth – due to a shorter upper jaw, longer lower jaw, or single displaced teeth. Cross-bites can cause the lower jaw to shift when closing due to interference from the opposing teeth – this is called a functional shift. Long-term issues if left untreated may include abnormal growth of the jaws or unwanted tooth wear.
A common malocclusion is a smaller lower jaw relative to the upper jaw. This can result in the upper teeth appearing to stick out which can affect children’s confidence if they are being teased at school. Functional appliances are designed to position the lower jaw forward while restraining the forward growth of the upper jaw – essentially helping the lower jaw catch up and often eliminating soft tissue influences like a lower lip trap. These appliances instantly improve the profile, however, they still rely on favourable growth for the benefits to remain long-term. Therefore, they are best used during peak growth periods. Twin-blocks are an example of a functional appliance. They are very popular, effective, and simple to use. They consist of upper and lower removable plates worn for 9-12 months followed by a similar length period with braces and elastics.
When deciduous baby teeth are extracted prematurely, the adjacent teeth often tip or drift into the space, complicating the eruption of the permanent tooth/teeth. A variety of space maintainers are available – they can be fixed or removable. If we place a space maintainer, we will continue to monitor your child until the permanent tooth/teeth have erupted to assess whether orthodontic treatment is still required.