Orthodontic tool kit
Our orthodontist Hampshire is trained to realign and reorganise patients' teeth, and just like other specialists, they have to implement different tools for different jobs. Not all misaligned teeth are the same and although the most famous orthodontic tool is the standard metal brace, there are others which can be implemented successfully when required. So, let's have a look at some!
Traditional metal braces
Designed with a set of square brackets which are individually adhered to the front of each tooth, these brackets are connected via an arch wire which is shared across the teeth with the brace following the arch of the mouth. In making adjustments, the tension of the arch wire delivers force to the teeth, encouraging them to move.
It is the most common form of orthodontics and until very recently, it had the widest application, suitable at treating lots of different orthodontic conditions, although not all. This type of brace and bracket can be made from ceramics and composite polymers too. These see-through braces are more subtle when worn in public and are unlikely to be noticed at a distance.
These are extensions of the brace outside of the mouth; they may extend right onto the chest with a pad on the forehead. Most headgear is only worn in the evening or at night and is seen as a last resort for severe misalignments due to its inconvenience.
Invisible braces or dental aligners
The newest tool commonly found in dental surgeries is the dental aligner, gaining popularity over the last 10 years, but it has been in development since the 1970s. They are clear plastic devices which are placed over the teeth, with each one being slightly different, as they are placed over the teeth to exert tension which is how they alter the position of the teeth.
Retainers share a similar appearance to dental aligners in that they are plastic forms, but unlike dental aligners, which are only worn for approximately two weeks as part of a series of treatment, retainers may be worn for 4 months.
The role of a retainer is not to alter the positions of your teeth, but to simply hold them in place while they take on their new positions permanently. Teeth at the end of orthodontic treatment have an unfortunate habit of trying to return to their original positions, this is called reversion and is caused by tendons in the gum being under tension, and attempting to pull the teeth back to their locations. Before the start of treatment, there are also options to cut these tendons if reversion persists for longer than 4 months, but this is usually not necessary.
There is an array of tools which are rarely applied by our orthodontist Hampshire. As in most areas of medicine, patients are unique, but most follow a treatment pathway that would use the tools described above, with a small minority requiring intervention and more unusual tools to be used. These could be the plastic blocks of a functional appliance, used to widen a pallet by applying force on the inside of the teeth and pushing outwards, or our orthodontist Hampshire having to fabricate an entirely bespoke brace like tool to correct a very unusual tooth position.