Now a mouth of metal or plastic is a rite of passage for the young and not all that unusual in adults of varied generations and social classes
And along with this popularity there has emerged a bunch of new orthodontic techniques and systems – enough to confuse even the wisest of parents while their family clamour for the Hollywood smile.
Let’s get one thing straight for a start: at Burford Dental we almost always do not extract teeth for orthodontic purposes.
Our reputation over the past twenty five years in Alpers Avenue has continued to grow and develop because of that simple fact. And this will continue into the foreseeable future.
So why do so many dentists and orthodontists say they have to extract teeth in order to align the remainder into a pleasing smile? It’s simple really; those who extract teeth are making the teeth fit the jaws. We are making the jaws fit the teeth.
To do that, we use a range of removable appliances, usually containing screws or springs, which mould or shape the jaws until there is enough room for the teeth to line up without perfectly good teeth being extracted. Think about it. It is commonly recognised that pressure on the jaws from thumb or finger sucking can lead to all sorts of strange jaw shapes and teeth sticking out all over the face. We use similar pressures to those of the thumb but to opposite effect in that we are improving the shape of the jaw and creating a drop dead smile.
And commonly we finish treatment with short term [usually about six months] of fixed wire appliances [braces]. In other words, the best of both worlds.
Consider the advantages of this form of treatment:
- The results include a full broad smile, a balanced facial profile, and the retention of healthy posterior teeth
- Existing jaw joint [TMJ] problems – such as headaches and clicking jaws – can be relieved and healthy jaws protected.
- Removable appliances are usually quite inconspicuous – ideal for both children and adults – and treatment times can be significantly reduced in comparison with traditional techniques.
- The appliances can be removed so that the teeth and gums are easily cleaned and are healthy after treatment is completed
- Removable appliances are preferable for patients who have a high dental decay rate because of the ease of cleaning the teeth
- Treatment can be started and completed at an early age with a reduced incidence of relapse and with less need to wear retainers over an extended period
- There is no wearing of headgear or straps behind the head and neck [we hate that stuff]
- These appliances can be removed for cleaning, sports, and for appropriate ‘special’ occasions such as the School Ball.
- There is little or no discomfort in wearing removable appliances – they are about as gentle as you can get!
Where the lower jaw has to be moved to line up with the rest of the head [the ‘thumb sucking’ profile with the ‘weak’ chin] then we commonly use a ‘functional appliance’. There are a range of these removable appliances that we use for varying purposes. Our most common functional appliances are the ‘bionator’ and the ‘twin block’. We might also use the’ bioblock’ or the ‘biofinisher’ or the’ Spahl Split Vertical’. Photos of these – and other – jaw repositioning appliances may be found at http://www.johnsdental.com/bionator.html . Dr John Mew, an English orthodontist, developed the bioblock and called his technique ‘orthotropics’.
Orthotropics is not a technique on its own – it is simply one of several functional orthodontic techniques. And each technique has its advantages and its disadvantages. At Burford Dental we have used a range of functional appliances over the past 30 years and, where appropriate, will select the most suitable appliance for the patients problems.
Just remember that using these appliances commonly removes the need for jaw surgery. And also remember that we don’t use functional appliances for all our patients. They are just a part – but definitely not all – of our range of treatments.
We have treated hundreds of orthodontic patients who have previously been told by dentists or orthodontists that they require orthognathic surgery [big words that mean your child requires his/her jaw cut into sections and repositioned to the head]. And we have treated these patients to great smiles – without surgery of any kind.
The dentists at John Burford Dental are not specialist orthodontists. We are general dentists with a special interest in and a long term experience of providing quality orthodontic care. At the initial [consultation] visit we assess the type of orthodontic problem and discuss treatment options and fees with both the patient and [where applicable] the parent. And we are quite happy for you to obtain opinions from other dentists before you decide on the best option for you or your child.
And, while I am on this orthodontic stuff, I must mention Marnie Bolton. Marnie is a myofunctional therapist who is on the staff at 19 Alpers Avenue. She is the only practicing myofunctional therapist in the country and she also is a Buteyko Practitioner [that's doing the right breathing stuff]. So what is a myofunctional therapist? This is a person who works with [mainly] children to break them away from their habits of thumb / finger sucking and tongue thrust swallowing. Most parents are aware of the thumb sucking bit, but not many parents realise that the associated aberrant swallow can cause as much mouth and jaw damage as sticking the finger in the mouth. Make an appointment to come and see Marnie and talk about all these things.