• July 31, 2023
  • Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh

Understanding Orthodontics

Orthodontics, a crucial subfield of dentistry, has been the key to rectifying a multitude of dental and facial irregularities. Whether it’s straightening teeth or realigning the bite, orthodontics encompasses an array of treatments, each designed to improve the overall oral health and aesthetics of an individual.

Defining Orthodontics

Orthodontics, often associated with treating misaligned teeth or crooked teeth, is a branch of dentistry specialising in correcting teeth and jaws that are positioned improperly. Dental specialists, known as orthodontists, hold a general dental degree and a specialist orthodontic degree, focusing on treating oral health issues and rectifying dental and facial irregularities.

How Orthodontics Differs from General Dentistry

Orthodontics and general dentistry, while interconnected, have distinct differences. General dentists manage overall oral health, including tooth decay, gum disease, and routine cleanings. On the other hand, specialist orthodontists delve deeper into diagnosing and treating specific dental irregularities, such as misaligned teeth and bite problems.

The Process of Orthodontic Treatment

The journey towards a perfect smile through orthodontic treatment involves multiple stages, each crucial to ensure the best results.

Initial Consultation and Diagnosis

The first step to orthodontic treatment is to see an orthodontist. This appointment involves a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s teeth, jaws, and facial structure. The orthodontist will use X-rays, photographs, and impressions to diagnose any existing issues and decide on the most suitable treatment options.

Formulating the Treatment Plan

Based on the initial diagnosis, the orthodontist will devise a customised treatment plan. Orthodontic treatment options range from traditional metal braces to more innovative approaches. The plan outlines the best method for straightening teeth and aligning the bite according to the individual’s specific needs.

The Stages of Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatment typically consists of two stages: the active phase and the retention phase. The active phase involves using orthodontic appliances, such as traditional braces, to make gradual adjustments to the teeth and jaw alignment. This process helps straighten crooked teeth and correct any overcrowded teeth conditions.

what is orthodontics

Orthodontic treatments aren’t just used to treat crooked teeth, they can also have a big impact on your overall oral health.

The Transformational Power of Orthodontics

Orthodontics is more than a solution to oral health issues. It has the power to transform an individual’s self-perception and social interactions, leading to improved confidence and quality of life.

How Orthodontics Improves Oral Health

Orthodontic treatments play a crucial role in improving your oral health in numerous ways:

  • Prevents tooth decay
  • Guards against gum disease
  • Corrects bite issues
  • Enhances speech and digestion
  • Reduces wear and tear
  • Enhances overall oral hygiene
  • Supports long-term oral health

The Impact of Orthodontics on Facial Aesthetics

Besides perfecting your smile, orthodontics plays a pivotal role in harmonising facial aesthetics. It guides facial growth, improving the balance between the upper and lower teeth, and enhancing the overall facial structure. The result is a more balanced, symmetrical, and attractive appearance.

Enhancing Self-Confidence with Orthodontics

The psychological impact of orthodontics cannot be overstated. By correcting dental and facial irregularities, orthodontic treatment significantly boosts self-confidence. A straight, beautiful smile can have a positive effect on personal, social, and professional interactions.

what is orthodontics

Orthodontists are registered dental specialists who utilise orthodontic aids such as braces, to correct numerous dental issues.

Post-Orthodontic Treatment

The journey towards a perfect smile doesn’t end when the braces come off. Post-orthodontic treatment is crucial to maintain the results and ensure the continued health and beauty of your smile.

The Importance of Retainers

Retainers are orthodontic appliances worn after the removal of braces. They help maintain the new position of your teeth, preventing them from shifting back to their original places. Wearing retainers as instructed by your orthodontist is essential to protect your investment in the treatment.

Follow-up Care and Checks

Regular check-ups are crucial even after the completion of treatment. These visits allow the specialist to monitor the stability of the treatment results, assess oral health, and make any necessary adjustments to your retainer.

Achieving a Beautiful Smile with Orthodontics

The culmination of orthodontic treatment is a beautiful, confident smile. Straight teeth and well-aligned jaws not only enhance oral health but also improve facial aesthetics. The journey might be lengthy, requiring patience and commitment, but the outcome of a transformed smile is absolutely worth it.

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Below you can find our FAQs about Orthodontics. Contact us for more information about the procedure, or use the online form above to book an appointment.

What exactly does an orthodontist do?

An orthodontist is a dental professional who specialises in diagnosing, preventing, and treating dental and facial irregularities. Their work often includes the design and application of corrective orthodontic appliances such as braces and retainers to treat issues like misaligned teeth, overcrowded teeth, and various bite problems.

What is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?

Both dentists and orthodontists work on oral health but in different capacities. A dentist deals with general dental care, like cavities, gum health, and basic oral hygiene. A specialist orthodontist, however, has additional training to correct alignment and bite issues, using orthodontic appliances to adjust teeth and jaw positioning.

Is an orthodontist just for braces?

While braces are a common tool used by orthodontists, they’re not the only treatment option. Specialist orthodontists offer a range of treatments to correct dental and facial irregularities, such as clear aligners, retainers, and even orthodontic surgery. Their focus is on overall dental harmony and proper function.

What can orthodontics treat?

Orthodontics can treat a wide variety of dental and facial irregularities. This includes crooked or overcrowded teeth, gaps between teeth, overbites, underbites, and crossbites. Specialist orthodontists can also address issues related to jaw growth and alignment, improving both function and facial aesthetics.

Please note that any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh
About The Author

Dr. Catherine-Anne Walsh

Catherine-Anne is a New Zealand-qualified dentist. She holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from Sydney University and she has a broad range of experiences from working in both the public and private sector.


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