|This is a field of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dento-facial irregularities. The practice of orthodontics requires professional skill in design, application and control of a host of corrective appliances (braces) to bring the teeth, lips and jaw into proper alignment and relationship.
If your teeth are irregular, do not bite right and you feel conscious about it, an orthodontist can help. Such problems are called malocclusion. Orthodontists are dentists who are specially trained to straighten teeth (orthodontics) and intercept certain types of developing malocclusion in a growing child by modifying bone growth in the jaws (dento-facial orthopedics).
|The treatment aims of the Department of Orthodontics are to improve occlusion and facial aesthetics and to correct misaligned teeth. The Department handles the full range of malocclusions and oro-facial deformities.
We are pleased to introduce Dr Susan Boey, an orthodontist (braces specialist) accredited by the Singapore Dental Council, who has many years of experience using the Damon braces. She practices at our Dental Centre located at City Square Mall.
What Causes Malocclusion?
Malocclusions occur when the jaws and teeth do not meet right.
- Skeletal malocclusion occurs when one jaw does not line up with the other, or when the jaw is too big or too small for the teeth.
- Dental malocclusion occurs when the teeth are out of line, crowded, turned or spread out. This can happen with or without a jaw problem.
- Inherited malocclusion
A child may inherit jaw from one parent and teeth from the other parent. This may lead to crowding, spacing or extra or missing teeth.
- Acquired malocclusion
Such condition may be due to poor dental care leading to early loss of deciduous (milk) teeth, traumatic injuries, habits such as thumb sucking and chronic airway obstruction such as enlarged adenoids.
- Other types of malocclusion may be congenital in nature such as cleft lip and palate deformity and other syndromes.
Why Is Treatment Important?
These irregularities, if not treated, may lead to more problems as follows:
- Tooth decay and tooth loss as misaligned teeth are difficult to clean and maintain.
- Gum diseases.
- Abnormal wear of tooth surfaces.
- Excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissues.
- Misalignment of the jaw joints, resulting in chronic headaches or pain in the face or neck.
- Lower self esteem as the facial appearance is affected.
When Should Treatment Start?
A child should have his/her teeth checked at about age seven, when the permanent teeth start to grow. Although adolescents (11 to 15 years of age) are most responsive to orthodontics treatment, this early examination will alert the dentists to any potential problems. Orthodontics treatment is also suitable for adults and about 25% of patients today are adults. In general, treatment with braces will take approximately 1 to 2.5 years depending on a few factors such as the growth of the patient’s face and mouth, co-operation of the patient and the severity of the problems.
For children, the best time to start depends on the type of malocclusion. Sometimes treatment is done in 2 phases:
If the child’s jaws are not aligned right or too small, the orthodontist may start treatment while the jaws are growing. This is called growth modification and is usually carried out between ages 7 to 12 and takes about 1 year. Subsequently, the orthodontist will review the child 6-monthly or yearly to monitor the development of the permanent teeth.
If the child’s adult or permanent teeth are not properly aligned when they erupt (usually between ages 11 to 13), they will need to be straightened and this is called Phase 2. Most children who have undergone Phase 1 treatment also need Phase 2.
Before Treatment Begins
During the first visit, the orthodontist examines your teeth and jaws and advises you whether you need treatment and what treatment will involve. You are under no obligation to proceed if you think you need more time to decide.If you decide to proceed with treatment, the orthodontist will carry out further analysis of your condition by means of X-rays, dental models (study models) and sometimes photographs before making a treatment plan. Informed consent is necessary prior to treatment so that you are fully aware of what treatment will involve.
The position of our teeth continues to change throughout life. This is a long term process that can lead to changes in the bite or in the alignment of the teeth. In addition, teeth have the tendency to return toward their original position after orthodontic treatment. This is called relapse. Therefore, retainers are provided to minimize this and ensure stability of the treatment outcome. The orthodontist will provide you with instructions on care and use of the retainers.
Types Of Braces:
Braces can be divided into removable or fixed type.
Removable appliances are usually used for growth modification (phase 1) and mild irregularities.
Clear aligners are available for correction of mild to moderate malocclusion and post-treatment relapse.
Invisalign® treatment consists of a series of custom-made removable aligners. Each aligner is individually made using the latest advances in 3-D computer technology. You wear each set of aligners for about two weeks, moving your teeth gradually week by week, until you have achieved the planned optimum result.
Unlike conventional braces, these aligners can be removed when you eat or drink and during your daily routine brushing and flossing.
The most efficient type of braces. Instead of winking metal, colours may be added to make your braces more attractive and they can be changed upon monthly adjustment visits. Self-ligating braces such as Damon, Smart Clip, Innovation etc. are also available.
Plastic or Ceramic Braces
Made with translucent brackets, these tooth-coloured braces will not attract as much attention as metal.
Plastic or Ceramic Braces
The position of our teeth continues to change throughout life. This is a long term process that can lead to changes in the bite or in the alignment of the teeth.
In addition, teeth have the tendency to return toward their original position after orthodontic treatment. This is called relapse. Therefore, retainers are provided to minimize this and ensure stability of the treatment outcome.
The orthodontist will provide you with instructions on care and use of the retainers.
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Frequently Asked Questions on Orthodontics (Braces)[wpspoiler name=”When is the best age for orthodontic treatment?” style=”wpui-green”]Although adolescents (11-15 years of age) are most responsive to orthodontics, treatment is sometimes provided for younger patients to intercept a developing malocclusion. Orthodontic treatment can also be done on adults and there is no age limit.
[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”How long must I wear braces?” style=”wpui-green”]Usually 1-2.5 years but some cases may need shorter or longer duration. If you always fail or cancel your appointments, it may take even longer. Retainers will be fitted to hold your teeth in their new positions after your brace is removed. If these are not worn, your teeth may slip back.
[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”Is orthodontic treatment painful?” style=”wpui-green”]During the first few days your teeth may be a little tender. This will soon pass off as you get used to your brace. If necessary, take a mild painkiller. The brace may rub your lips, cheeks or tongue and cause ulcers initially. Your orthodontist can give you some wax and a mouth ulcer gel.
[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”How do I care for my brace / teeth?” style=”wpui-green”]Brush your teeth well using a small head orthodontic toothbrush. Use a mouthwash at night. It is very important to maintain good oral hygiene as teeth may discolor and/or decay and gum disease may develop. Regular 6 monthly cleaning are required during treatment. More frequent cleaning may be required depending on patient’s overall oral hygiene.
[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”What food or drinks should I avoid?” style=”wpui-green”]Avoid sticky or hard food e.g. chewing gums, toffees, apples, carrots or crusty bread as these may break and bend the wires. Avoid sweets, mints and sugary or fizzy drinks since these may dissolve the enamel.
[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”How will brace affect my lifestyle?” style=”wpui-green”]You may lisp for the first few days. Only by wearing your braces full-time will your speech return to normal. If you play contact sports or a musical instrument, let your orthodontist know.
[/wpspoiler][wpspoiler name=”What to do If I notice broken braces or wires?” style=”wpui-green”]Braces and wires should be checked daily after cleaning. If you find something loose or broken, please call the clinic immediately to fix an appointment. Do not wait until your next appointment. Broken wire or braces can cause teeth to move in the wrong direction and hence prolong the treatment time unnecessarily.
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