However, we will advise you about who we recommend and can send on a referral letter for you.
We would advise patients to only see a Specialist Orthodontist when it come to Orthodontic treatment. This is a dentist who has undertaken a normally 3 year full-time Hospital Speciality Training Programme and passed all the associated examinations.
The Irish Dental Council’s register of Specialist Orthodontists is available on their website.:
There are general dental practitioners who have a reputation for providing orthodontic treatment to a high standard but they are few are far between.
The Orthodontic Society of Ireland websites provides information that all patients/ parents considering orthodontic treatment would find of use:
The Orthodontic Society of Ireland Recommends that you take your child to see a Specialist Orthodontist between the ages of 8-10.
Orthodontic treatment is a way of straightening or moving teeth, to improve the appearance of the teeth and how they work. It can also help to look after the long-term health of your teeth, gums and jaw joints, by spreading the biting pressure over all your teeth.
Many people have crowded or crooked teeth. Orthodontic treatment will straighten the teeth or move them into a better position. This can improve their appearance and the way the teeth bite together, while also making them easier to clean.
Some people have upper front teeth that stick out and look unsightly. These 'prominent' teeth are more likely to be damaged, but orthodontic treatment can move them back into line. The way the upper and lower jaws meet can cause teeth to look unsightly and lead to an incorrect bite. Orthodontic treatment may be able to correct both of these problems.
When the teeth don't meet correctly, this can put strain on the muscles of the jaw, causing jaw and joint problems and sometimes headaches. Orthodontic treatment can help you to bite more evenly and reduce the strain. When your teeth don’t meet correctly they may wear down more quickly as you go through life than could be the case. Orthodontic treatment can help to slow down how quickly your teeth wear down as you age.
The best time is generally during childhood, but adults can have orthodontic treatment too - and more and more are doing so. Age is less important than having the right number of teeth. In children it may be necessary to wait for enough teeth to come through before starting treatment.
The most important thing is to have a full examination. This will usually involve looking at your teeth, taking dental x-rays and making models of your teeth.
Your orthodontist will then discuss what treatment is possible. Once you are sure you want to go ahead, the treatment can start as soon as you have enough permanent teeth.
You may not have enough room for all your permanent teeth. If so, you may need to have some permanent teeth taken out to make space. Your orthodontist will tell you whether this is the case. Sometimes space can be made using other forms of treatment.
Orthodontic treatment can be done by many sorts of appliances, which most people call a 'brace'.
Simple treatment may be carried out with a removable brace (a plate that can be taken out to be cleaned). It has delicate wires and springs attached, which move the teeth using gentle pressure.
Often, teeth need to be guided more accurately than they can be using a removable brace. So a fixed brace is used. This has brackets and bands which are temporarily stuck to the teeth. A flexible wire joins all the brackets and allows the teeth to be moved. You can't take the appliance out yourself, so it is called a fixed appliance. Some people refer to these as “train-tracks”. There are newer more discreet versions of these braces now available.
It is sometimes possible to change the way the jaws grow, using a functional brace. This works by using the power of your jaw muscles and can help with certain types of problem.
Fixed braces are not always made of metal. Plastic and ceramic can be used, especially for adults.
As well as a brace some people need to wear headgear. You usually only need to wear it in the evening or at night. If you do not wear it in the way you have been told, your front teeth may stick out at the end of treatment.
They are tough, clear plastic 'aligners' (moulds) that are used to straighten teeth. Several sets of specially moulded, slightly different aligners are made for each patient. Each set is worn for two weeks before being replaced with the next one. They are made from clear plastic, so they are nearly invisible.
The aligners should be worn for 22 to 23 hours a day for the best results. They can be easily removed for eating, drinking, brushing, and for cleaning in between your teeth. You need to have all your adult teeth before you can have this treatment.
What can be achieved using aligners and can be achieved using fixed braces is not always the same things. Your orthodontist can explain the potential short-comings (if any) of each system.
Sometimes delicate elastic bands are attached to a fixed brace to help move the teeth. Your orthodontist will tell you if you need elastics.
The length of treatment depends on how severe the problem is, and it may take anything from a few months to two-and-a-half years. Most people can be treated in one to two years.
When treatment is finished the teeth need to be held in position for a time. This is called the ‘retention' period, and the appliances that hold the teeth in place are called retainers.
The retainers hold newly straightened teeth in position while the surrounding gum and bone settles. The retainers can be removable or fixed, depending on the original problem.
All appliances may feel strange at first, and can cause discomfort. If the problem doesn't go away, the orthodontist may be able to carry out adjustments to help. Teeth are usually uncomfortable immediately after a brace has been adjusted, but this will settle.
Orthodontic braces usually need adjusting every 4 to 6 weeks. Your orthodontist will tell you how often your brace will need adjusting.
Success depends on both the skills of the orthodontist, and the enthusiasm and helpfulness of the patient (and parents, if the patient is a child). It is important to follow any instructions given by the orthodontist and to go to any appointments you have with them.
The success of the treatment also depends on the commitment of the patient. For children's orthodontic treatment it is very important that the patient is as keen as the parent.
Your teeth can be damaged if you don't look after them properly during treatment. Poor cleaning and too many sugary foods and drinks can cause permanent damage to your teeth. Brackets, wires and braces can trap food and cause more plaque than usual to build up. So you need to clean your teeth and appliance very thoroughly. If teeth are moved too quickly the roots of the teeth can be damaged which in some cases can lead to the need for root canal treatment or the loss of teeth.
Even after retention, it is normal for minor tooth movements to happen throughout life. So no permanent guarantee can be given. Follow the advise of your orthodontist regarding your retainers. If you don’t wear your retainers your teeth will move.
It is important to keep having your teeth checked and cleaned with us while you are having orthodontic treatment. You also need to take extra care of your teeth and mouth:
If you have a removable brace it is best to take it out and put it in a brace case. You can buy these from your dentist, or from most large pharmacists. If you do remove your brace, it is important to use a mouthguard and then put your brace back in as soon as possible. It is also best to take your brace out if you are swimming. If you have fixed braces you should wear a mouthguard designed for use during contact sports over the brace. Your orthodontist will advise you about what is suitable.
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