What are orthodontic treatments?

Orthodontic treatments are dental procedures that help to straighten teeth and correct problems with the bite.


When might you need orthodontic treatment?

You might need orthodontic treatment for:

  • crooked teeth or teeth that stick out
  • a bad bite, which is how the upper and lower jaws meet when the mouth closes
  • poorly aligned jaw
  • gaps between the teeth
  • problems with speaking, breathing or chewing

What happens during orthodontic treatment?

The dentist will ask you questions and examine your mouth and face for suitability of treatment. You will be asked to have x-rays or have plaster models of your teeth made to help create a customised treatment plan for you.

They will discuss the treatment they recommend. Treatment often involves using dental appliances known as braces to straighten crooked teeth or to correct problems with the bite.

There are many different types of braces, including the traditional metal type. Other types include clear or tooth-coloured braces, braces worn on the inside surface of the teeth and clear, removable ‘aligners’.


How long does orthodontic treatment take?

It depends on the individual. A typical treatment usually takes about 2 years. You will need to return to your dentist regularly to have the orthodontic appliances maintained.

Many people will then need to wear some sort of device to keep their teeth in position for some years, or for the rest of their life. Teeth tend to move back to their original position over time. The device might be used only at night, or it might be used permanently. You can discuss this with the orthodontist.


What are the benefits and risks of orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment can help improve appearance as well as bite. It can also help if you have problems with speaking, breathing and chewing. Having straight teeth can prevent damage from a bad bite, prevent tooth wear, and improve the mouth’s health.

However, orthodontic treatment takes a long time and can be costly. As with anything new, it may take you some time to adjust to wearing braces and to learn how to take care of your appliance.

Orthodontic treatment is not suitable if you have unhealthy teeth and gums. If you have braces, it is very important to clean your teeth properly and avoid too much sugary food and soft drink as this may lead to white spots on your teeth or tooth decay.