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Straight Talk: The Basics of Orthodontic Treatment



July 11, 2024

Orthodontic treatments work to correct misaligned teeth and jaws, and give patients a confident, healthy smile. Orthodontics can help with minor conditions such as slightly misaligned or crooked teeth, but also more serious misalignments of the teeth and jaws. The most common types of orthodontic treatments are braces and clear aligners, but other treatments such as orthognathic surgery can also be used in conjunction with general orthodontic treatment. Let’s dive into some of the basics of orthodontic treatment.

What Are the Benefits of Orthodontic Treatment?

One of the most obvious benefits of orthodontic treatment is the visual improvement it offers and the confidence that comes with that. Regardless of its primary purpose, orthodontic treatment usually improves the appearance of the patient’s teeth, giving them a nicer smile and the improvements in self-confidence that come with that.

In addition to this, orthodontic treatment can be highly effective at alleviating issues with speaking and eating caused by problems with the teeth and jaw, leading to potentially massive improvements in comfort and quality of life. Straighter teeth and more correctly aligned gums can also be easier to keep clean and healthy, and reduce the chances of other issues developing later in life.

Who Can Benefit From Orthodontic Treatment?

The vast majority of people who find themselves negatively impacted by orthodontic issues will be able to benefit from treatment. Whilst it is rarely recommended for children whose permanent teeth have not yet settled in their mouth, orthodontic treatment is typically recommended around the ages of 12 to 13, but sometimes as young as 7. Despite this, orthodontics can still deliver great results even when started far into adulthood.

What Are the Main Forms of Orthodontic Treatment?

The most common forms of orthodontic treatment are traditional and clear braces, as well as clear plastic aligners such as Invisalign.

Braces are made out of metal and wires and are fixed onto the teeth by an orthodontist. After they are fixed in place, the orthodontist will need to adjust them periodically and remove them once treatment is completed. They are a cost-effective option and can be used for a wide range of issues. Traditional metal braces are fixed onto the front of the teeth, but alternatives exist, such as lingual braces which are fixed onto the rear surface of the teeth.

Invisalign clear plastic aligners aren’t fixed onto the teeth but rather can be inserted and removed by the patient themselves. This allows them to be removed when eating and when cleaning the mouth, avoiding some of the common flaws found with braces. It is essential, however, that the aligners are worn for at least 20 to 22 hours per day for treatment to be effective. Despite covering the teeth, their clear plastic construction makes them a very subtle option that few other people would notice.

How Do Braces and Clear Aligners Work?

Despite their differences, braces and clear plastic aligners both work in a similar way. They put a constant pressure on the teeth, and over time this pressure causes them to shift position in the mouth. This is a slow and gradual process, but it makes a huge difference over the course of the treatment.

How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment Take?

The length of time needed for treatment to deliver the desired results can vary substantially and depends on the nature of the issues being treated, the age of the patient, and individual differences in how their mouth responds. In the case of aligners, whether they’re worn a sufficient amount of time each day can also make a huge difference to the speed and magnitude of the results.

However, with braces and aligners, a full course of treatment will typically take between 12 and 18 months, though in some cases this may be as short as 6 months or as long as 24.

How Can I Get Started?

If you’re still looking to find out more or want to get started on the smile of your dreams, your next step is to contact your orthodontist and arrange a consultation. At Rykiss Orthodontics in Winnipeg, we have experience addressing all manner of orthodontic issues and would be happy to help you understand our affordable orthodontic options. Contact us today.


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