Knowledge Base





Orthodontics is a type of dentistry that corrects teeth and jaw alignment problems using devices such as dental braces (fixed appliances), plates and headgear. Orthodontic treatment is often recommended to correct problems such as a protruding lower jaw, protruded upper teeth (buck teeth) or crooked and crowded teeth.


Early intervention and treatment is often preferred to prevent more serious problems from developing. As the basic process involved in moving teeth is the same at any age, orthodontic treatment is also often successful for adults.


Additional orthodontic treatment information available from the Aust. Society of Orthodontists



What orthodontic treatment involves:


The orthodontist or dentist will take detailed records of your teeth and jaws, diagnose the problem, plan the treatment and carry out the care.


The range of corrective orthodontic devices includes:


Dental braces (fixed appliances) – tiny brackets are attached to the front of each tooth and wires are threaded through. The gentle and consistent pressure of the braces slowly moves and correctly repositions the teeth. The braces generally need to be adjusted by the orthodontist or dentist every month or two.
Read more about braces External website icon (Aust. Society of Orthodontists)


Rubber bands – During treatment, patients may need to have rubber bands attached for additional force for the correction of bite.
More about rubber bands External website icon (Aust. Society of Orthodontists)


Retainers – These are used when the braces are removed and retaining appliances (retainers) are fitted to hold teeth steady in their new position.
More about retainers External website icon (Aust. Society of Orthodontists)


Headgear – This is used most often to restrict forward growth of a prominent upper jaw in a growing patient.


More about headgear on the Aust. Society of Orthodontists website.


Risks of orthodontic treatment


Some of the risks of orthodontic treatment include:


Dental hygiene problems – braces and wires make cleaning the teeth more difficult. This can cause tooth decay, discoloration and permanent marks.


Soft tissue injury – the braces may dig into or traumatise the gums and cheeks.


Relapse – the corrected teeth may misalign themselves again, once the braces are removed. This risk is the most important reason why generally it will be suggested that retainer plates are worn after removal of braces.