While braces are a major element of orthodontic work, they’re not the only service an orthodontist provides, nor is having braces the only time in your life you might have to visit an orthodontist.
In fact, visiting an orthodontist at different stages of life for a variety of reasons is common, and helps maintain a beautiful smile and good oral health far beyond the time spent wearing braces.
Here are other reasons you might see an orthodontist, and why orthodontics doesn’t stop at braces.
The Australian Society of Orthodontics recommends children should visit an orthodontist as early as the age of seven.
This initial assessment allows the specialist orthodontist to provide a ‘heads up’ regarding issues that are likely to develop as soon as there is a mix of adult and baby teeth.
Like most health matters, the earlier a problem can be identified, the better the treatment can be and in some cases this may involve early-age orthodontic work.
Early orthodontic treatment aims to correct bite problems such as an overbite or underbite as well as guide the jaw’s growth pattern.
It also helps to make room in the mouth for the permanent teeth to be properly positioned as they come in. This can greatly reduce the risk of a child needing complicated future treatment which may involve extractions or surgery later in life.
Your orthodontic journey doesn’t end with the removal of braces, and for many people this will involve having retainers.
Retainers are a critical part of the orthodontic process and they are used for two reasons: to allow bone to rebuild after your teeth have moved, and second to keep individual teeth from moving.
In order to ensure that your teeth do not move, your orthodontist will design retainers to stabilize and preserve the alignment of teeth and jaws that orthodontic treatment has achieved.
Orthodontic treatment extends far beyond creating a beautiful smile, and can also assist with sleep and breathing problems caused by Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).
In this instance an orthodontist can create a custom-made mouthguard for patients to use while they sleep. It repositions the jaw to keep the airway open and eliminates the symptoms of OSA such as snoring and repeated awakening.
Despite the best orthodontic treatment, there are occasions where teeth will move even years after the removal of braces.
This may be due to injury, a subtle change in the facial shape as we age, the relaxation of ligaments during pregnancy or the arrival of wisdom teeth.
If your teeth are on the move, the best course of action is to seek orthodontic treatment as early as possible. The problem may be as simple to rectify as wearing a retainer.
About Norwest Orthodontics
Norwest Orthodontics specialises in the treatment of children and adults. We pride ourselves on our personalised service, care, and open communication.