Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that diagnoses,
prevents, and treats dental and facial irregularities called
malocclusions. Orthodontics includes dentofacial orthopedics, which is
used to correct problems involving the growth of the jaw.


Although orthodontic treatment often improves facial appearance and
occasionally is performed for solely cosmetic reasons, it is used
primarily to correct health problems and to ensure the proper
functioning of the mouth. Properly aligned teeth, which close together
correctly, simplify oral hygiene and enable children to chew their food
efficiently. Orthodontic treatment provides the following:

  • straightens teeth that are rotated, tilted, or otherwise improperly aligned
  • corrects crowded or unevenly spaced teeth
  • corrects bite problems
  • aligns the upper and lower jaws

Ideal bite

Few children have perfectly symmetrical teeth and a perfect bite. In an ideal bite, the following are characteristics:

  • All of the teeth fit easily without crowding or spacing.
  • The teeth are not rotated, twisted, or leaning forward or backward.
  • The teeth of the upper jaw slightly overlap those of the lower jaw.
  • The points of the molars fit into the grooves of the opposite molars.

Types of malocclusions include the following:

  • crowded, crooked, or misaligned teeth
  • extra or missing teeth
  • bite problems
  • jaws that are out of alignment

Causes of malocclusion

Most malocclusions are caused by hereditary factors that affect the
contours of the face and the size of the teeth and jaw. The most common
cause of malocclusion is a disproportion in size between the jaw and
teeth or between the upper and lower jaws. A child who inherits a
mother’s small jaw and a father’s large teeth may have teeth that are
too big for the jaw, causing overcrowding. Specific inherited
malocclusions include:

  • Overcrowded teeth
  • Too much space between teeth
  • extra or missing teeth
  • various irregularities in the teeth, jaw, or face

Malocclusions can be acquired through the following:

  • Accidents such as a jaw fracture that causes misalignment
  • Prolonged sucking on thumbs, fingers, or pacifiers, particularly after the age of four
  • Fingernail or lip biting
  • A lost tooth that causes nearby teeth to move into the empty space, throwing them out of alignment
  • Airways that are obstructed by tonsils or adenoids
  • Dental disease
  • Tumors in the mouth or jaw
  • Improperly fitted fillings, crowns, or braces
  • Premature loss of baby teeth or permanent teeth
  • Late loss of baby teeth

Symptoms of malocclusion

Occasionally children have mild, temporary symptoms of malocclusion
resulting from a growth spurt. However, symptoms of malocclusion usually
develop gradually beginning at the age of six. Symptoms may include the

  • Crowded or misaligned teeth
  • Abnormal spacing between teeth, most often occurring because teeth
    are small or missing or the dental arch—the arch-shaped jawbone that
    supports the teeth—is very wide
  • Incisors (front teeth) that do not meet
  • An open bite, occurring when the upper and lower incisors do not
    touch each other during biting, thereby putting all of the chewing
    pressure on the back teeth and resulting in inefficient chewing and
    excessive tooth wear
  • An overbite or overjet, in which the upper incisors protrude, often
    caused by a lower jaw that is significantly shorter than the upper jaw
  • A deep or closed bite, an excessive overbite in which the lower
    incisors bite too closely to or into the gum tissue or palate behind the
    upper teeth
  • A crossbite, in which a protruding lower jaw that is longer than the
    upper jaw causes the upper front or back teeth to bite inside the lower

Invisalign Invisible Braces

Invisalign is a revolutionary system for straightening crooked teeth
and closing gaps between teeth in many cases can replace the need for
traditional metal-wire braces that have long been used in traditional
orthodontic practice. The system utilises the latest in computerised
technology and three dimensional modelling to generate a series of
clear, see-through aligners or “clear braces”. They are virtually
un-noticeable when you are wearing them and are often referred to by
many patients as “Invisible Braces”. The Clear aligners are specially
fabricated to fit your teeth exactly and over time they slowly move your
teeth into a position that gives you a natural looking straight smile.

So how does the Invisalign system work? Its simple :

  • You wear your aligners for 22 hours a day
  • You remove your aligners to eat and brush your teeth
  • As your teeth move slowly over time
  • You change your aligners approximately every two weeks
  • Have regular progress checks with your dentist or orthodontist
  • Full treatment takes from 6 months to a year (sometimes 18 months).

Why is Invisalign better than metal braces?

Comfort – metal braces are usually more painful and
can cause irritation and local inflammation of the gums and soft tissue.
The elastic bands and tightening forces used with metal braces can
often cause discomfort. Although there may be slight discomfort when you
start wearing Invisalign aligners, in general most users find them very

Convenience – this is probably one of the greatest
advantages over traditional wire braces. You remove the aligners when
you eat, therefore not having the problem of food getting trapped
between wires and elastic bands. Invisalign also makes maintaining a
good oral hygiene program much easier. With wire braces cleaning your
teeth is much more difficult – especially flossing between your teeth.
The difficulty of flossing with metal braces means that most people will
neglect this part of their cleaning and this could lead to problems
with bad breath, gum disease and tooth decay in the future.

Discrete – The aligners are virtually invisible to
anyone unless they get very close to you, so hardly anyone will even
notice that you are having treatment. This is one of the main reasons
that has encouraged 1000s of adults to use the Invisalign system, as it
won’t cause any disruption to their lifestyle.

Can Invisalign be used for all orthodontic cases?

For the majority of crooked teeth problems including, overbites,
underbites, crowding, crossbites and gaps between your teeth Invisalign
works very well. However more severe orthodontic cases where perhaps
teeth extraction is required or there is a lot of movement needed then
Invisalign may not be appropriate. During your free consultation your
dentist will be able to tell you if you are suitable for Invisalign. In
very severe cases traditional wire braces, friction free Damon braces or
lingual braces may need to be used to correct your tooth alignment.

Your dentist will give you strict instructions on how to use the
aligners, they must be worn for a minimum of 20 hours a day, the success
of the treatment is highly dependent on your compliance as a patient
and so requires dedication.