Welcome to our blog…

Retainers explained…

Retainers are devices that hold the teeth in their desired positions. Retainers are an important part of the post-orthodontic care for your smile. There are two types of retainers: fixed retainers and removable retainers. Fixed retainers are metal wires that are glued to the inside surfaces of your teeth to prevent them from ever moving. We recommend a ‘hygienic’ fixed retainer which has loops incorporated into it to allow flossing and proper cleaning. Removable retainers on the other hand can be taken in and out. The most commonly used removable retainer is a clear vacuum formed retainer that just needs to be worn at night. Please make sure you have and wear your retainers after orthodontic treatment. If not, visit ...

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Lets talk a little about facial growth ….

Did you know that facial growth is one of the most important factors to consider when planning orthodontics? Growth of the face begins at the end of the 4th week in utero (in the womb). Our face consists of 2 jaws: 1) the upper jaw or the ‘maxilla‘; and 2) the lower jaw or the ‘mandible‘. The maxilla grows down and forward slightly. The mandible does the same, but it does so by growing backwards and up which pushes it forward and down from the base of the skull! Hence, the mandible or lower jaw actually lengthens from the back. Facial growth is usually complete around 16 years of age for girls but tends to continue in the early twenties ...

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How to manage broken brackets…

Today’s blog is for all our lovely patients with braces on whom at some stage may experience a bracket breakage! Brackets are small metal squares that are glued onto the teeth. Occasionally (due to the high forces exerted by the jaws during eating and sometimes grinding at night) the glue may give way and a bracket may pop off! If this happens please give us a call ASAP to organize an ’emergency appointment’. This is important because in order to fix it our staff need to setup special equipment and it takes a bit longer than normal to fix up a breakage. Furthermore, you want to address it as soon as possible, because the longer a bracket stays off the longer the braces ...

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Space maintainers -what are they and when are they needed?

Did you know that baby teeth serve an important role in the development of adult teeth? They hold the space the adult replacement. If a baby tooth is lost early due to extraction or early removal by the child, the space for the adult successor can close up! Often, the adjacent teeth tip into the spot. This isn’t good because the adult tooth trying to come through no longer can. It often gets stuck or ‘impacted’. An impacted tooth is very difficult to fix up and often requires surgery along with braces. Therefore, if a baby tooth is lost early it is important to consider a space maintainer. A space maintainer is a little metal loop that holds the space ...

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Thumb sucking explained…

Thumb sucking occurs in about 30% of 1 year olds, 12% of 9 year olds, and 5% of 12 year olds. In order for thumb sucking to have a dental effect it needs to be occurring for more than 6 hours a day. When it does, it often causes the following changes: An open bite or a gap between the front teeth A narrow upper jaw A crossbite at the back of the mouth Protruding upper incisors Spaced upper incisors Before 6 years of age, the best management is often just gentle encouragement for the child to stop. As children get older the habit often ceases itself and any dental open bites resolve spontaneously with the emergence of the adult teeth. After 6-7 years ...

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So how do teeth move?

The classic theory of tooth movement is called the ‘Pressure-Tension Theory‘. Every tooth is encompassed by a tooth socket. When a force is applied to a tooth via braces, one wall of the tooth socket is compressed or squeezed (pressure) and the other wall of the tooth socket is relieved or stretched (tension). Blood flow decreases in the area of pressure and ‘bone-eating’ cells turn up to remove bone in front of the tooth. This is called frontal resorption. Blood flow increases in the area of tension and ‘bone-forming’ cells turn up and deposit bone behind the tooth. Hence the tooth essentially ‘treks’ through the bone creating a path in front of it and covering this path up behind it. It ...

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Bad bites explained…

The technical term for a bad bite in orthodontics is ‘malocclusion’. In the 1890s Edward H. Angle (the father of modern orthodontics) described 3 types of malocclusions: Class I malocclusion: this is when the back teeth are in a fairly good position (the molars bite together properly) but there is crowding or crooked teeth present. Class I malocclusions affect about 46% of the population. Treatment of class I malocclusions is often simple with the use of braces to align the teeth. Class II malocclusion: this is when the lower jaw is small and hence you have an overjet (increased horizontal overlap of the front teeth -often called an ‘overbite’). Class II malocclusions come in 2 forms: division I where the top front ...

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How do braces work?

This is a common question -how do braces work? To answer it, we must revisit the three components of braces: brackets, wires, and modules. Brackets are the little metal squares that are glued onto your teeth. Think of them like handles attached to the teeth. Once these are stuck on, the wires are then thread through. These are the ‘workhorses’ of braces that actually move the teeth. The wires we use are Nickel Titanium or NiTi. They are heat activated -meaning that they are kept cold in the clinic and when placed in the mouth they heat up and become activated. As the wires heat up they move to a predefined shape which is a perfectly round arch -hence moving the teeth ...

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Colours for braces -how does it all work?

Choosing colours for your braces is heaps of fun! One of the components of braces are the modules. Modules or o-rings are coloured rings that are placed around the braces. Did you know that they aren’t just for decoration? -they actually serve a purpose. Modules function to hold the wire into your braces. Without them the wire would just pop out and the teeth would be free to move. Therefore its important to always check to make sure all your colours are on -if not, give us a call and we’ll fix it up. There a numerous coloured modules you can choose! From clear to glow in the dark orange! Its often the biggest decision when you first get your ...

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Do braces hurt?

This is a common question! and the answer is… in general, no. Luckily, gone are the days of constant pain associated with your braces. Back then it would hurt every time you visited the orthodontist to have things ‘tightened’. Nowadays we don’t do that anymore. We simply stick braces one using delicate tweezers and glue and the heat activated wires work by themselves with no tightening required! Let us explain… When you first get your braces on, the appointment usually takes 45 mins and they are simply stuck onto the teeth with glue. This process is completely painless. When you leave the clinic with your shiny new braces and bright colours, you don’t feel a thing for approximately 2 hours. When you get ...

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