Straightening teeth with braces is called orthodontics.
Orthodontics can be carried out at any age, but most commonly, it is provided to adolescents during their teenage years when the body is growing rapidly. As SWO is limited to ‘Kids & Teens’ (i.e. growing patients), Sharon is able to harness natural growth for the benefit of orthodontics.
Orthodontics is carried out over an extended period of time. This varies from one patient to the next, but on average, orthodontic treatment lasts approximately 18-24 months. During this time, a patient will need to attend the Orthodontist for appointments on average every 4-6 weeks. For this reason, and understanding the importance of school attendance and the interruption frequent orthodontic appointments can cause, SWO is deliberately open during out-of-school hours. In addition, this is of huge convenience to many working parents.
Orthodontic appliances (‘braces’) may be removable or fixed.
Removable braces are constructed in the laboratory following an impression of the patient’s teeth. The brace is then fitted to the teeth and the patient is instructed on how and when to wear the removable brace and how and when to remove it.
A fixed brace is attached to the teeth by the Orthodontist and is not removed from the teeth until the end of treatment, when it is professionally removed by the Orthodontist. Instructions on how to look after a fixed brace throughout the period of wear is given by the Orthodontist. Fixed braces may be made of metal (‘train tracks’) or ceramic (‘clear’) brackets.
Following active treatment, and removal of all braces, retainers are fitted. These may be fixed or removable and are necessary to keep the teeth straight following treatment. Instructions will be given by the Orthodontist how to wear retainers and for how long. It is a simple, but important phase of treatment to ensure the stability of the result.
Sharon recommends all children aged 10 years attend for an orthodontic screening appointment. This will allow the Orthodontist to assess the developing dentition and to anticipate future orthodontic treatment needs. Sometimes a child younger than 10 years is seen if their dentist is particularly concerned by the developing dentition and on occasion early (‘interceptive’) treatment is indicated to help improve the situation early.