Orthodontics

Orthodontics is a discipline within dentistry focussing on the realignment of the teeth and the relation of the jaws.
treatments / Orthodontics

Colloquially known as blocks or braces, nowadays, this also includes aligners. Orthodontic treatment is partially covered for everyone with compulsory health insurance (must have joined a health insurance scheme), provided this is reported before the age of 15. This document is drawn up after a consultation with the orthodontist.

There are several reasons to start orthodontic treatment:

  • Misalignment of the teeth, making it hard to maintain proper care, which in turn might cause cavities or gum problems.
  • An unfavourable jaw relation, which can cause speech and chewing problems.
  • An unfavourable load on the teeth, causing them to wear more quickly or cause damage to the supporting tissues (periodontitis).
  • In preparation for other interventions such as implants, crowns, or veneers, to obtain a better starting situation or create space.

A tooth and/or jaw correction due to the above reasons is always, to a lesser or greater extent, accompanied by an aesthetic correction. After all, a more harmonious, full smile is always created in which the teeth are nicely aligned.

The orthodontist is an important link in many treatments, and thus more and more adults visit the orthodontist to ensure as much tooth preservation as possible for later in life.

Treatment by the orthodontist is often based on a referral from the dentist, after which the orthodontist estimates the need for treatment and when to start during the first consultation. This is followed by a complete data collection of the teeth and the patient's profile to perform the necessary analyses and draw up the treatment plan. This will be explained in detail during the third appointment, together with a cost estimate and the estimated treatment time. Finally, when the patient (and parents) agree, the treatment is scheduled to start.

Functional equipment

A functional device is a removable or fixed brace for correcting the jaw relation in growing individuals. This braces system is often used when the patient has an enlarged overbite (increased distance between the upper and lower incisors). The timing of these types of devices is crucial and is determined by tooth development and skeletal development. As with all braces, the success of these treatments highly depends on patient cooperation.

Headgear

Orthodontic headgear is a removable brace that is used to create space in the upper dental arch. Simultaneously, headgear can also be used to improve the relation between the upper and lower dental arches. Again, with this type of brace, cooperation is of great importance for successful treatment. Headgear is used to prepare fixed equipment.

Fixed equipment

Fixed equipment are the blocks that we all know that gives the orthodontist the best options to achieve maximum results. These blocks are available in metal or ceramic (white) versions. We normally use metal blocks for children. Adults more often opt for ceramic blocks, as they are not that aesthetically disturbing. In some cases, it may also be possible to place blocks on the backside of the teeth so that they are almost invisible. The downside, however, is the increased cost and potential impact on speech. Once the blocks have been placed, the patient visits the orthodontist every four to six weeks to correct the wires to achieve the desired tooth alighnment. This can be combined with extra elastic bands, which requires the patient's cooperation to achieve a good result quicker. The patient may sometimes experience some pain and tension during the first few days after the insertion of a new wire, so it is better to avoid hard foods. Other than this, these treatments are quite painless.

Aligners

A new treatment that is gaining popularity is treatment with aligners. These are custom-made, transparent braces or brackets slid over the teeth and must be replaced every 1 to 2 weeks. Based on the initial situation, a digital simulation is made of the end result, whereafter a brace is made for each step to achieve this result. The advantages of these treatments are the aesthetics, as these braces are less visible than regular braces. However, the disadvantage of this treatment is that the patient's cooperation must be 100%. If the braces are not worn correctly or often enough, the teeth will not move or not move sufficiently to be able to move on to the next brace. As a result, treatments can suddenly take much longer and not produce the desired result. In addition, the final finish and teeth alignment is slightly more difficult to control compared to treatment with regular braces.

The orthodontist will also consult with the patient to determine the best treatment based on the patient's wishes.

TAD's

A TAD, which stands for Temporary Anchorage Device, is a small screw that is screwed into the bone through the gums. This screw serves as a kind of anchor for moving a group of teeth. For example, if we want to move a group of teeth backwards using a rubber band connected to the back molar, the back molar could come forward instead of the group of teeth moving backwards. In such a case, a TAD can be used as an anchor point. The placement of a TAD is done under local anaesthesia at the orthodontist.

TADs, also called ortho-implants, are small titanium screws placed in the mouth during braces treatment. TADs provide a fixed anchor point and serve as a power base, making it possible to align each specific tooth in the right place without shifting the rest of the teeth. They can be placed in different areas in the mouth, depending on your situation. When placing the TAD, you may feel slight pressure, but it will not hurt because they are inserted in an area in the mouth where there are no nerves.

Orthognathic surgery

Sometimes, the jaw's alignment deviates to such an extent that correcting tooth misalignments will not be sufficient to achieve a stable and good end result. In these situations, the orthodontist will propose an additional jaw realignment in cooperation with the oral surgeon. First, the orthodontist prepares the positioning of the teeth, whereafter the surgeon realigns the jaws correctly, and then the orthodontist finishes the final alignment of the teeth. This planning is always done in consultation with the patient and consideration of their age. These treatments are largely covered by health insurance and are often performed in Belgium. Therefore, the experience and expertise level for this type of treatment is high.

Retention

An active misalignment correction is followed by a retention phase. Teeth may still tend to move after an orthodontic correction. It is, therefore, necessary to stabilise the harmonious result. Depending on each patient's situation, this is possible with a bonded retainer (a wire glued to the back of the incisors) and/or a removable retainer (night braces). A beautiful end result requires a lifelong follow-up.

Interesting for your mouth?

Do you have any questions about this service or a different one, or would you like to make an appointment?

Contact us