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How to treat gapped teeth

Perfect teeth are hard to come by, and most people often need a little help along the way. If you notice your child developing gaps between their teeth as they grow, this is a completely normal and common feature of growing teeth. It’s also easy to fix if addressed in childhood with a trip to the orthodontist to help the teeth grow in a straighter, more comfortable way. At iSmile Orthodontics, we recommend starting your children’s orthodontic visits from the age of seven to curb the need for any future treatment.

Why the gap?
Gapping in teeth – also called diastema – is a common growth occurrence in teeth where gapping occurs, most often between the front two teeth, although it can occur anywhere. This can be caused by natural features such as a misalignment in the jaw or a mismatched jaw to teeth ratio. If the piece of skin under your upper lip – the labial frenum – is large than normal, this can also grow between the front two teeth, pushing them apart.

Other behavioural problems that can cause diastema include thumb-sucking or regular occurrences of tongue thrusting, both of which are behavioural traits that can push the front teeth outward.

When gapping occurs between two teeth, often other teeth may try to fill in the space, causing further gapping in other areas. Addressing this problem in childhood is a good way to catch the issue early on, as gaps in teeth can be difficult for cleaning and chewing, not to mention in your confidence.

In many cases of gapping in teeth, they can be treated with traditional metal braces. These are a popular choice among children and adults at iSmile Orthodontics and will usually be worn on both the top and the bottom sets of teeth for complete teeth and jaw realignment. In cases where there are several teeth far away from each other, or teeth growing to accommodate for the extra space, traditional metal braces are a highly recommended option.

Once braces are applied, the wires will be tightened or changed every 6 to 8 weeks, which may result in some extra pressure against the teeth that quickly goes away within a few hours. Braces are good option for those on a budget, and can often be subtle in appearance and a fast working option for orthodontics for children.

Teenage years can be particularly sensitive, and our Invisalign option offers the top choice in subtlety and confidence boosting. A custom-made, virtually invisible appliance that slots right onto teeth, Invisalign offers the same effectiveness as normal braces to give your child that perfect smile.

False teeth
Sometimes, gapping in teeth can be a result of missing adult teeth. These teeth never grow in, resulting in very large gaps in the smile and causing some difficulty with cleaning and hygiene. In these more unusual cases, false teeth may be required. Our false teeth at iSmile Orthodontics slot in seamlessly with the rest of the teeth, creating that perfect smile that your child will love showing off. Check out our results page for an example of missing upper laterals replaced with false teeth and get in touch here for your complimentary evaluation.

Treatment options for crowded teeth

Whether you’re experiencing crowded teeth as an adult, or you have noticed it in your child, there are lots of different treatment options to explore. Crowded teeth are a very common problem and we see it with many of our patients at iSmile Orthodontics. Let’s take a look at the different orthodontic treatment options available for you or your child.

Maxillary expansion
Also known as palatal expansion, this orthodontic treatment is available for children. It involves an appliance positioned on the roof of the mouth fixed into place by two molar teeth on either side. The appliance is both easy and efficient, working by turning a ‘key’ in the middle to gently exert pressure and expand the upper jaw. This then allows more space for the teeth to reposition themselves, and grow into the extra space. As an added bonus, the appliance is not visible front on, so will not impact their life from a cosmetic point of view. Maxillary expansion can be a standalone treatment, or a preparatory one for braces, which will help reduce the length of treatment time with the braces, and result in a more effective treatment.

At iSmile Orthodontics, we customise and personalise our treatment for each patient. Depending on the crowding, Invisalign may be the option for you. Invisalign is one of our most popular treatments; it’s subtle, removable, highly effective, and easy to clean. It is molded specifically to your teeth for a fit that is comfortable and will help align your teeth in a shorter amount of time to give you that perfect smile with minimal effort. However, this treatment is not available for everyone so please discuss this option with your orthodontist.

Tooth extraction may be a term that can raise eyebrows, whether it’s orthodontics for children or adults, but in the right circumstances, it can be the best choice for crowded or crooked teeth. At iSmile Orthodontics, we will only remove teeth when it’s the best option for you, and extraction can often be a preparatory treatment for braces. Crowded teeth can be painful if your jaw or mouth is small in size, and extraction can provide respite for this pain or pressure, allowing the remaining teeth to realign and create a more comfortable and straight smile.

Braces have come a long way in the last couple of decades, and there are many options available for you, especially if cosmetics are an issue. The classic metal braces are an effective and budget-friendly way to realign crooked teeth in a short time. Adults and teenagers are often drawn to our ceramic braces, which are a subtle treatment that don’t impinge on their daily life as much. If your braces treatment is following a palatal expansion or extraction, you’ll see a dramatic change in the look and feel of your teeth and smile in a very short amount of time.

Check out our results page for examples of successes of all the treatments listed above in both children and young adults. iSmile Orthodontics works carefully to provide personalised treatments that are the best for you to regain a perfect smile, and to work with your personal or social life. Get in touch here to see how we can help you regain your confidence and straight teeth once again.

Correcting an overbite or underbite

Overbites and underbites are very common teeth and jaw issues that can affect eating, breathing, speaking and confidence. Both overbites and underbites are problems that we often see in our patients at iSmile Orthodontics. If you or your child has or is developing either one, keep reading to see what options are available to you and understand more about the condition and its causes.

What is an underbite?
A healthy set of straight teeth are usually aligned in the upper and lower jaw, with a slight overlap of the front upper teeth over the front lower teeth. When an underbite occurs, this alignment is disrupted, with the reverse happening, resulting in a lower jaw that may protrude slightly or significantly past the upper jaw, depending on the severity of the underbite. More often than not, underbites are just part of someone’s genetic makeup and occur naturally.

What is an overbite?
Although the front upper teeth naturally overlap the front lower teeth a little, when this amount of overlap or protrusion is significant – around 30-50% – this is referred to as an overbite, or malocclusion. Recognisable traits can include significant overlapping, protrusion of the upper part of the mouth, and a weak chin or jaw. Overbites are either due to teeth growth or jaw alignment. Crowded teeth are a common reason for an overbite, which can be caused by thumb sucking or chewing on anything that is pushed against the front upper teeth. In skeleton misalignment, this is often genetic and something not caused by habits.

Common problems and symptoms
Both underbites and overbites can cause some discomfort and problems with speaking and chewing. If they are left or worsen, you may experience pain in these activities, as well as aching in the jaw, and even some erosion of tooth enamel, which increases your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. In a less physical aspect, you may feel a knock to your confidence, which is still a very real symptom, and can affect the way you live your life.

Do you need surgery?
Depending on the severity of your underbite or overbite, you may or may not need surgery. In less significant cases, many patients at iSmile Orthodontics have seen success through non-surgical treatments. If the protrusion or overlap is severe, surgery may be a requirement. We treat everyone on a patient by patient basis, so our treatment is always personalised to you.

How we can help
The good news is the sooner you take action, the lower the risks of severe symptoms. Orthodontics for children with overbites or underbites can mean non-surgical treatments that nip the problem in the bud and curb future issues. You’ll also skip those painful teenage years when self-esteem can really make a difference to their lives. Treatments our patients have successfully undergone include braces on the upper and lower jaw for 1-2 years to fully realign the crooked teeth and give back that perfect smile. Braces include the traditional metal braces as well as the subtle ceramic braces popular with teenagers and adolescents. In some cases, you may be eligible for Invisalign treatment, which is are specially molded, virtually invisible aligners that can be useful for overbites and underbites.

Check out our results page to see previous success stories or get in touch to see how we can help you.

What to Expect with Jawbone Surgery

Many people find that orthodontic problems left untreated in childhood can lead to more serious results in adulthood. Without preventive or corrective orthodontic care to help your baby teeth grow in correctly, this can often result in the need of surgery. Once the adult teeth have grown in, there’s no chance of them moving without our intervention. For some people, this can be corrected with braces and minor appliances, and for others this requires surgery.

Class III mandibular setback – or jawbone – surgery is the correction of the position of the lower jaw. People with this condition will have a lower jaw that juts forward slightly, a more prominent chin, and teeth that are either level or slightly further forward on the lower set. While jawbone surgery can be a cosmetic choice, the jaw misalignment can often result in chewing problems, sometimes speech problems, teeth erosion, pain or discomfort, and greater difficulty with oral hygiene.

iSmile Orthodontics can assess your teeth to identify if you need surgery. We can then recommend you to a specialist oral surgeon who offers class III mandibular setback surgery to realign your teeth and give you back that confidence that comes with a perfect smile. So what’s involved in the orthognathic surgery and is it major?

Before your surgery, you will likely wear a brace in the months leading up to it, depending on what your specialist recommends. Since the surgery can be considered major, you will be put under general anesthetic. Then the jaw bone is separated, stabilised, and screws and plates are added to keep it in place. You will be under anesthetic during this time and experience no pain.

Once you wake up, you will feel like you have had surgery! You will feel some swelling and discomfort, so pain medication will be prescribed to ease this. At iSmile Orthdontics we craft each patient’s treatment differently. We will monitor you closely over the coming weeks and months and will do regular follow-ups to ensure a smooth recovery.

Full recovery can take up to a year, but you will be able to resume normal use within six to twelve weeks, and most patients report a cosmetic difference straight away. Depending on your case, you may be required to wear post-treatment braces.

Check out our results page to see an example of a success story with the jawbone surgery. If you think this is something you’d like to consider, get in touch and we can arrange a consultation with one of our trained specialists who will be able to talk you through the procedure and recommend the options best for you.

Rapid Maxillary Expansion in Children

At iSmile Orthodontics, we recommend that children visit their orthodontist around the age of seven. This is the prime age to ensure baby teeth and jaw alignment are in the correct place before the adult teeth grow in. It can also curb the need for extensive orthodontic treatment on adult teeth, which can be costly and time-consuming.

A first visit will involve a simple check and consultation, with some photographs to observe the alignment of your child’s teeth. In some cases, Phase 1 treatment will begin, which aids the growth of teeth into adulthood. This can either be as preparation for Phase 2 – braces – or as a preventative measure for any further treatment.

Rapid maxillary expansion is a common treatment, especially for children, and it’s not as scary as it sounds. Also called palatal expansion, this treatment is carried out when the upper jaw is too narrow for proper growth, which often results in crowded teeth on the upper level. In some children, this can look like a ‘V’ shape with the front teeth crossing or pointing inwards.

The appliance is attached to two molars, one on each side, with an expanding mechanism in the middle at the roof of the mouth. The expansion part in the middle is operated by a ‘key’ which is turned to exert pressure on the teeth to expand the jaw. Your child may experience some discomfort or pressure around the middle of their face after turning the appliance, but this will soon go away.

Each maxillary expansion appliance is made to fit each patient specifically, and we will talk both you and your child through the process along the way. You will begin to see results within a week, which may form through gaps in the front teeth. This is the teeth beginning to shift and make room for proper growth.

iSmile Orthodontics treats each patient separately and make them comfortable in every procedure. As you will be assisting your child with turning the appliance in the beginning, we like to make sure you are both fully aware and happy with what you’ll need to do. Children may be resistant to the idea of orthodontic treatment, but the great thing about a maxillary expansion appliance is that it is almost invisible from view, so they can continue their school life with little to no difference. You will both see progress very quickly and this appliance may even prevent future orthodontic treatment.

Take a look at our results page to see some of our success stories in early orthodontic treatment of children, including rapid maxillary expansion that have either acted as a precursor to Phase 2 treatment, or reduce future treatment. This simple and effective treatment means that baby teeth can finish growing fully to make way for adult teeth to begin growing in the correct and more comfortable place.