What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics means “aligned teeth”. Orthodontics is the science focused on diagnosing, preventing and treating dental and facial irregularities. The main goal of orthodontics is to have a beautiful smile and a functional chewing system that works in harmony along with the inceasing self-consciousness of the patient.

Who is an Orthodontist?

Orthodontists are dental specialists who diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities. They receive an additional 4-6 years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth.

Why is orthodontic treatment so important?

Everyone wants a beatiful smile. Latest researches point out that teeth are the first aspect to notice while looking at a person. Smile is one’s greeting to the world. Smiling is one of the most essential parts in our social life and orthodontics can help people to achieve it. Irregular jaw relations, crooked teeth and a bad oral hygiene can be corrected with orthodontics.

Crooked teeth are hard to clean and maintain, and very prone for cavities. In order to have a good oral hygiene, teeth need to be aligned. Orthodontic treatment is also essential to avoid any gingival and bone recessions in future. Well-aligned teeth are also essential for a properly functioning digestive system and make the individual feel good and self-confident with the lifetime of healthy, attractive smile. This is also something to be proud of for the orthodontist.

What is the best age for orthodontic treatment?

Each problem determines its own best starting time. Most beneficial time for orthodontic treatment is during growth spurs, between the ages of 9-14. However, sometimes, earlier interventions may be crucial for treatment and may prevent severe future problems. If it appears that treatment will be needed we can advise you as to the best time to begin

Can adults benefit from orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatments are not just for children and can be succesful at almost at any age. More and more adults are contemplating and undertaking orthodontic treatment everyday. Adults have the options to choose invisible aligners or lingual orthodontics for orthodontic treatment. We are treating many adult patients today in our clinic.

How long does orthodontic treatment lasts?

Length of treatment varies according to the problem. Orthodontic treatment take about 12 months to 30 months depending on the severity of the problem, plus retention. An approximate time will be advised to you after a thorough clinical and x-ray examination of the patient. To finish orthodontic treatments in the stated time range, it requires following the instructions, keeping scheduled appointments and maintaining excellent oral hygiene. The orthodontic treatment will last longer otherwise.

When should your child get an orthodontic check-up?

American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) recommends that your child should be examined by an orthodontist not later than 7. Problems not recognized by parents can be noticed by orthodontist, which could be treated earlier to prevent any further problems. In some cases, orthodontic treatment starts as early as age 7-8, while some would be under supervision for 3-6 month check-ups.

What are the benefits of orthodontic treatments?

  • Patients would have an esthetically pleasing smile
  • Dental and facial relations are corrected
  • Oral hygiene will be easier to control with aligned teeth
  • Aligned teeth and a harmonius bite will prevent joint problems related to teeth

Will there be any soreness during orthodontic treatment?

There is no any kind of pain while bonding brackets or putting on removable appliance. After bonding the brackets, patients might complain of a general soreness in the mouth for the following 2-3 days due to the natural loosening of the teeth. This condition can be relieved by rinsing the mouth with warm salt-water solution (one teaspoon of table salt in a glass of warm water) before and after each meal.This discomfort decreases eventually not because teeth stopped moving, but because patients adapts to it. There might also be some irritation and ulceration in cheeks and lips where they touch brackets. Soft tissues adapt to their new position in a week. We may suggest you medications or gels to avoid extra irritation.

Will my teeth go back to their former position after orthodontic treatment?

Teeth keep moving throughout lifetime. Elastical fibers around teeth tend to move the teeth back towards their original positions., Patients undergo retention phase after active orthodontic treatment, to avoid this. Please visit the “Retention Phase” section in “Treatment Options” to receive more information about retention phase,

Will orthodontic treatment affects speech?

There might be a little speech difficulty for about a week with removable appliances, but rarely in fixed orthodontic treatments. Any speech problems will dissappear almost totally afterwards.

Are teeth extracted for orthodontic treatments? Will there remain a gap between the neighboring teeth after the treatment?

Extractions are not welcomed by many patients for orthodontic treatments. Patients either think they’re getting their teeth extracted for no reason, or there will remain a gap. To decide for extraction, orthodontists need to analyze x-rays and do a clinical examination for arches and profile. At the end of the treatment, the gap is closed by neighboring teeth and there will be no problem with chewing or any other teeth related functions.

Can impacted teeth be brought back to arch?

Impacted teeth can be brought to arch via orthodontic treatment. Patient will be sent to have Cone Beam Computerized Tomography (CBCT) to determine the position of the impacted tooth. Impacted teeth may be extracted if it is in a very difficult position or if it will risk root resorptions in neighboring teeth. Rarely, impacted teeth might be fusioned with bone and might not move. Patients are informed and taken consent before starting any treatment.

What records are needed for orthodontic treatment planning?

Orthodontist will examine patient’s face, soft tissues, facial structures and teeth in first appointment. In addition, a cephalometric and panoramic x-rays will be asked from patients. In cephalometric x-rays, jaw relations will be analyzed, while extra or missing teeth and root positions can be observed in panoramic x-rays. For clinical records, patient’s intraoral and extraoral photographs will be taken. These photographs will help for further smile and profile analysis. An impression may also be taken to check for further analysis.

How often should I visit my orthodontist?

Patients are usually seen in 4 to 6 weeks, but in some special cases your orthodontist might want to see you sooner or later than the stated time.

Is there an invisible orthodontic treatment option?

Patients who dont want their orthodontic treatment affect their social life can now choose between lingual orthodontics, esthetic brackets or invisible aligner (Invisalign) treatment. Lingual brackets are bonded on back of the teeth. Esthetic brackets are bonded on teeth, but due to its whitish and transparent look, it is almost invisible.  Invisible aligners are colorless and removable and therefore patients can take them out for meals and during any social event. It should be kept in mind that at least 22 hours a day needed for the aligner to have a treatment effect. You can find a lot more about the mentioned treatment types in “Treatment Options” section.