When is the best time to begin orthodontics?
Although an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time to start treatment. The Australian Society of Orthodontists (ASO) and the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommend that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur no later than age 7 or at the first sign of an orthodontic problem. At this early stage, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the best time to begin treatment.
What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and a greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, which prevents serious problems at a later stage. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.
Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?
By the age of 7, the adult first molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate the developing smile as well as the bite in the front and back. For example, the presence of erupting incisors in the front can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles. Timely screening will help eliminate these problems at an earlier stage to produce a beautiful smile and a comfortable bite.
What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?
The main benefits of interceptive treatment include:
- Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
- Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
- Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- Preserving space for unerupted teeth
- Reducing the need for tooth removal
- Reducing treatment time with braces
Are you a candidate for orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment is important not only for improving the aesthetics of the smile but also for correcting bad bites (malocclusions). Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. Malocclusions can affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth or feel about your smile.
Why should malocclusions be treated?
According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontics, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems:
- Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease
- Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping
- Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear
- Openbites can result in tongue thrusting habits and speech impediments
Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile - it creates a healthier you.
What is a Rapid Maxillary Expander (RME)?
The RME is a metal plate which is fixed onto the upper jaw (maxilla). It is termed a "Rapid" expander because it widens the upper jaw in less than 30 days. During this time, the expander actively pushes on both sides of the top back teeth to expand the jaw.
How does it work?
The upper jaw is made of two separate bone plates with an open suture (crack) in the middle. The expander pushes the two halves away from each other and, in so doing, makes the jaw wider.
How much time do I need to wear the RME?
The RME is permanently fitted onto the top teeth and must stay in your mouth for at least 9 to 12 months for the treatment to work. What about the screw in the middle of the RME? The expansion screw must be turned into the mouthas follows:
- 2 turns a day for the first 2 days
- 1 turn a day thereafter
You will be required to see Dr Chin every 2 weeks during the expansion period. Dr Chin will instruct you when you can stop. Expect to see a gap between the 2 front teeth whilst the RME is being expanded. This will close up in a few months.
Will it be painful?
It is likely to be uncomfortable for the first 2 weeks, days after the RME is placed in your mouth. You can also expect the following during the first few days:
- Mild tenderness of your teeth and jaw muscles. This will disappear after a few days.
- Increased salivary flow and swallowing. This is normal and will quickly pass.
- Your speech will be different. Practice reading our loud at home and your speech will return after a few days.
What about eating?
You must avoid ALL hard, sticky and sugary foods such as nuts, bubblegum and lollies as they can damage the RME.
How do I take care of the RME?
Brush your teeth three times a day and use a fluoride mouthwash at night. Clean the entire metal plate with a small interdental and check after brushing to make sure it is shiny.
What do I do if my RME breaks?
Ring up for an appointment as soon as possible. Do not wait for your next routine appointment as the breakage may slow your treatment and damage your mouth.
Adjust Your Teeth With an Orthodontic Plate in Perth
A removeable orthodontic plate appliance is a plate which you can take out for cleaning or eating. They work to straighten your teeth and/or improve your bite.
How long will treatment take?
Treatment normally takes between 6 to 18 months depending on the severity of your case.
Will it be painful?
Your teeth will be sore for 3 to 5 days after:
- The initial fitting of the plate
- Each subsequent monthly adjustment
If required, mild painkillers such as Parecetamol (Pandaol) or Ibuprofen (Nurofen) may be taken to ease the discomfort. Yo will also be given some wax to stop the plate from rubbing on your cheeks and lips.
Can I eat normally?
Yes, you should be able to eat normally with the orthodontic plate in place. However, for your treatment to work well an in the shortest possible time, it is important that you take good care of your teeth and plate. In order to prevent damage to both, please avoid the following foods:
- Sticky foods such as toffees, chewing gum etc
- Hard foods such as crusty bread, popcorn, toast, biscuits etc. However, if you cut up any hard foods into small bite sized pieces, then you may eat them carefully
- Sugary foods such as lollies and chocolate
- Fizzy drinks and excessive amounts of juice
What about toothbrushing?
It is very important that you brush your teeth four times a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Always take the orthodontic plate out to clean your teeth. You should be brushing after meal times including:
- After Breakfast
- After Lunch
- After Dinner
- Before Bedtime
A fluoride mouthwash should also be used before bedtime after toothbrushing. Be thorough when you brush your teeth, gums and plate clean, your gums will become inflamed and your teeth will be permanently scarred.
How do I clean my plate?
To clean your plate thoroughly:
- Remove the plate from your mouth
- Use a soft toothbrush and soapy water to clean all the surfaces of the plate. Ensure that you remove all the food debris and particles from the plate
- Clean all the metal parts by brushing them gently
- Rinse the plate thoroughly before reinserting it back into your teeth