braces

Treatment

Confidence is about feeling great about you! Geelong & Colac Orthodontics is about making you feel good about yourself through diagnosis and treatment of malocclusions (improper bites) and other orthodontic treatments, which may be a result of tooth irregularity, disproportionate jaw and bite or facial imbalance.

At Geelong & Colac Orthodontics we bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment and achieve facial balance through design, application and control of corrective appliances.

Orthodontic braces are the most commonly known form of treatment for corrective bite, teeth alignment and straightening or to adjust underlying bone. Did you know there are now more than just metal braces? We have a range of the latest types of braces to suit your situation and provide the best dental braces care and a variety of treatments for all different age groups.

While an optimum age to begin treatments is from the age of seven, it's never too late to have the confidence you can gain with a new smile.

Tongue/Thumb Guard

Whilst finger or thumb sucking is considered a normal and natural activity among very young children, it can sometimes intefere with the normal eruption of permanent teeth. The front teeth may be pushed forwards out of alignment, and open bites can develop. Most children grow out of the habit by the age of five or six, but occasionally the behaviour needs to be corrected.

A thumb guard can discourage the behaviour by making it dificult for the child to find a comfortable position thus breaking the habit over time. In some cases orthodontic symptoms may correct themselves once the behaviour has ceased, where in others the condition needs an appliance to be fitted.

Splints

Splints are removable dental appliances, of various designs, carefully moulded to fit the upper or lower arches of teeth. They are used to protect and stabalise occlusion and aid in relieving jaw/joint dysfunction - also known as temporomandibular joint pain dysfunction syndrome (TMJPDS). People prone to nocturnal bruxism, or night-time clenching, may also utilise splints.

Splints prevent the top and bottom teeth coming into contact with one another, hence, allowing the muscles in the face and jaw to relax.

Separators

Before some fixed appliances can be placed on your teeth we may have to prepare them with separators. You may need separators before having appliances such as quad helix, space maintainer, Herbst or RMEs fitted.

Separators are small metallic springs or small rubber circles that are placed between your teeth for about a week create a small amount of space so that the metal rings (bands) can be fitted easily and comfortably and finally cemented into place.

There may be some discomfort, such as tightness or feeling tender, as the separators do their job of moving the teeth. It is important to avoid sticky and chewy foods while the separators are worn, as they can be dislodged accidentally. Flossing should also be avoided during this period.

Retainers

Orthodontic retainers are custom-made appliances that hold teeth in position after braces are removed. When the braces are removed the teeth are slightly loose and need to be held, or retained, in a straight corrected position. Retainers are monitored and adjusted by the orthodontist for eighteen months, as outlined in your initial contract.

Retention is the most important part of the orthodontic treatment, as the bone around the roots of your teeth must stabilise, so that it can properly support teeth in their new positions.

It is the patient's responsibility to wear the retainer as prescribed in order to keep their teeth straight. If the retainer is not worn as directed, there may be undesirable tooth movement. This may result in the need for a new retainer to be made or other treatment to be undertaken which could prove quite costly. Sometimes braces have to be refitted if the undesired movement is too great.

There are several types of retainers, some fixed in place and some removable. Your orthodontist will discuss with you the best option at the end of your active treatment.

Rapid Maxillary Expander

A rapid maxillary expansion appliance (RME), also known as a rapid palatal expander, is used to widen the narrow upper jaw so that the upper and lower teeth will fit together better. The use of an expander is most common in children. We often use brackets (braces) on the upper front teeth in conjunction with the RME to correct minor crowding problems.

The appliance has a screw that is turned each day with a small key until the desired width is achieved.

Quad Helix

A quad helix is an orthodontic appliance for the upper teeth that is cemented to the upper six year old molars. It is attached to the molars by two bands and has four springs or helices that widen the arch of the mouth to make room for crowded teeth, or correct a posterior cross-bite, where the upper jaw is narrower than the lower. After a short adjustment period the quad helix becomes quite comfortable to wear. It is fixed in place and can be adjusted by the orthodontist at each check visit.

Appliances

Lower lingual fixed appliance

A lingual arch is an orthodontic device which connects the two six year old molars in the upper or lower dental arch. The lower lingual arch (LLA) has a wire adapted to the lingual side of the lower teeth. In the upper arch the archwire is usually connecting the two molars passing through the palatal vault, and is commonly referred as "Transpalatal Arch" (TPA).

LLA and TPA are fabricated by placing bands on the molars. These are connected to the archwire. The wire can be soldered to the bands or inserted into lingual sheaths welded to the molar band (removable LLA and TPA).

Lower removable appliance

Some orthodontic problems, if caught early enough can be corrected by an orthodontic plate. This is a removable appliance that can move teeth using wires, springs and expansion screws that guide teeth toward their correct position. Generally, plates are worn all the time, unless advised otherwise by your orthodontist. They do take some getting used to over a few days, but beyond that orthodontic plates are usaully quite comfortable to wear.

Headgear

Orthodontic headgear is a type of orthodontic appliance attached to braces or a palatal expander (such as RME) that aids in correcting severe bite problems.

The most common treatment headgear is used for correcting anteroposterior discrepancies:

More commonly here is a form of headgear that helps treat reverse overjets (where the top jaw is not forward enough). It is similar to a facemask, also attached to braces or an upper fixed appliance, and encourages forward growth of the upper jaw.
When we want to retard the growth of the upper jaw the headgear attaches to the braces via metal hooks or a facebow. Straps or a head-cap anchor the headgear to the back of the head or neck. In some situations both are used. Elastic bands apply pressure to the bow or hooks. Its purpose is to slow-down or stop the upper jaw from growing, hence preventing or correcting an overjet.

Extractions

Crowding

Whilst extractions are avoided wherever possible, in certain cases it may be necessary to alleviate crowding. Extractions are often performed just prior to fitting braces. Teeth usually removed are the bicuspid teeth, the fourth or fifth tooth from the front, and are most often symmetrical in nature, i.e. one from each side of the jaw. Occasionally unilateral extractions, i.e. from one side only, are necessary to treat midline discrepancies.

Prominent teeth

In some cases extractions will be performed to treat the appearance of "buck teeth". The extractions are usually symmetrical and provide a space into which the prominent front teeth can be moved. A dentist will normally perform extractions under the direction of your orthodontist.

Elastics

Elastics are small rubber bands that are attached to the braces to move the teeth. Different force can be exerted by applying elastics at appropriate places on the braces, thus correcting a range of dental issues. Elastics need to be changed every day and applied as shown by your orthodontist. Treatment progress is reliant upon good, consistent elastic wear.

Herbst Appliance

Not all patients have prominent front teeth or "buck teeth". An underdeveloped lower jaw can be part, or all, of the reason for excess overjet. Treating this type of bite with braces and extraction of teeth in the upper arch would correct the bite but wouldn't help the jawline discrepancy. One of the most efficient, functional appliances for orthodontic treatment is the Herbst appliance or Cantilever Bite Jumper. In use for over fifty years, the potential of this device is predictable. Recent technological advancements have also made the device more resistant to breakage and a lot more comfortable to wear for the patient.

Braces

Orthodontic braces are an appliance system used to correct dental irregularities and in so doing assist in aligning the teeth and their relationship to each other. They are used to correct malocclusions such as underbites, overbites, cross bites and open bites, or crooked teeth and various other flaws of teeth and jaws, whether cosmetic or structural. Orthodontic braces are often used in conjunction with other orthodontic appliances to widen the palate or jaws or otherwise shape the teeth and jaws. While they are mainly used on children and teenagers, adults can also use them.