It’s not that long ago when kids wearing braces were a source of wonder and amazement and railway tracks for adults were unheard of.

Orthodontic Treatment

Now a mouth of metal or plastic is a rite of passage for the young and not all that unusual in adults of varied generations and social classes
And along with this popularity, there has emerged a bunch of new orthodontic techniques and systems – enough to confuse even the wisest of parents while their family clamour for the Hollywood smile.

Let’s get one thing straight for a start: at Burford Dental we almost always do not extract teeth for orthodontic purposes.
Our reputation over the past thirty years in Alpers Avenue has continued to grow and develop because of that simple fact. And this will continue into the foreseeable future.

So why do so many dentists and orthodontists say they have to extract teeth in order to align the remainder into a pleasing smile? It’s simple really; those who extract teeth are making the teeth fit the jaws. We are developing the jaws to fit the teeth.

To do that, we use a range of removable appliances, usually containing screws or springs, which mould or shape the jaws until there is enough room for the teeth to line up without perfectly good teeth being extracted. Think about it. It is commonly recognised that pressure on the jaws from thumb or finger sucking can lead to all sorts of strange jaw shapes and teeth sticking out all over the face. We use similar pressures to those of the thumb but to opposite effect in that we are improving the shape of the jaw and creating a drop dead smile.

And commonly we finish treatment with short term [usually about six months] of fixed wire appliances [braces]. In other words, the best of both worlds.

Consider the advantages of this form of orthodontic treatment:

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    The results include a full broad smile, a balanced facial profile, and the retention of healthy posterior teeth
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    Existing jaw joint [TMJ] problems – such as headaches and clicking jaws – can be relieved and healthy jaws protected
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    Removable appliances are usually quite inconspicuous – ideal for both children and adults – and treatment times can be significantly reduced in comparison with traditional techniques
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    The appliances can be removed so that the teeth and gums are easily cleaned and are healthy after treatment is completed
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    Removable appliances are preferable for patients who have a high dental decay rate because of the ease of cleaning the teeth
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    Treatment can be started and completed at an early age with a reduced incidence of relapse and with less need to wear retainers over an extended period
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    There is no wearing of headgear or straps behind the head and neck [we hate that stuff]
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    These appliances can be removed for cleaning, sports, and for appropriate ‘special’ occasions such as the School Ball
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    There is little or no discomfort in wearing removable appliances – they are about as gentle as you can get!

Where the lower jaw has to be moved to line up with the rest of the head [the ‘thumb sucking’ profile with the ‘weak’ chin] then we commonly use a ‘functional appliance’. There are a range of these removable appliances that we use for varying purposes. Our most common functional appliances are the ‘bionator’ and the ‘twin block’. We might also use the’ bioblock’ or the ‘biofinisher’ or the’ Spahl Split Vertical’. Dr John Mew, an English orthodontist, developed the bioblock and called his technique ‘orthotropics’.

Orthotropics is not a technique on its own – it is simply one of several functional orthodontic techniques. And each technique has its advantages and its disadvantages. At Burford Dental we have used a range of functional appliances over the past 35 years and will always select the most suitable appliance for the patients problems.

Just remember that using these appliances commonly removes the need for jaw surgery. And also remember that we don’t use functional appliances for all our patients. They are just a part – but definitely not all – of our range of treatments.
We have treated hundreds of orthodontic patients who have previously been told by dentists or orthodontists that they require orthognathic surgery [big words that mean your child requires his/her jaw cut into sections and repositioned to the head]. And we have treated these patients to great smiles – without surgery of any kind.

The dentists at Burford Dental are not specialist orthodontists. We are general dentists with a special interest in and a long-term experience in providing quality orthodontic care.

At the initial [consultation] visit we assess the type of orthodontic problem and discuss treatment options and fees with both the patient and [where applicable] the parent. And we are quite happy for you to obtain opinions from other dentists before you decide on the best option for you or your child.

An interesting development in the last few years is that many dentists have completed a weekend course in Invisalign or Fast Braces and that is the limit of their orthodontic training. On the other hand, Dr John has completed over 1000 hours of orthodontic studies [mainly in the US] and has lectured on ortho techniques at conferences in six countries. Invisalign is a treatment more for adult patients than children / teenagers and may require significant reshaping of the teeth to allow them to align in a compromised jaw shape. “Fast Braces’ used to be called Viagis brackets but became viral with the name change and the claim to have brackets on and off in 6 to 9 months. That made us laugh because for 35 years we have been removing brackets after 6 months when the jaw is first prepared with removable plates. Depending on the severity of the crowding, the ‘removable plate’ stage could take anything from 6 months to 18 months to complete – but it’s much more patient-friendly than a ‘brace face’ and it means we can start treatment at 8 or 9 years of age and so treatments can be close to completion before those hypersensitive teenage years kick in.

Make a consultation appointment with us [no charge for this appointment] and we can explain our techniques to you.