About non-extraction orthodontics
At Lotus Dental we follow a ‘functional orthodontic’ approach. It is our experience that in the majority of cases there is no need for extraction of crooked teeth, using appliances to retrain muscles, expand the dental arches and reposition the lower jaw.
We use orthodontics for:
- straightening teeth
- moving teeth to allow correct jaw and head and neck posture
- balancing the bite, muscles and jaw joints
- guiding growth and favourable development of the face
- beautiful smiles
- improvement of airway to treat sleep apnoea, snoring and mouth breathing.
At Lotus Dental we screen our patients for oral functional problems from their first visit.
The ‘Big 3’ we aim for:
- Breathing through the nose, not the mouth
- Lips together
- Tongue resting on the palate, behind the top teeth.
Correction of habits to achieve these 3 things alone in a young growing child will improve their facial growth and development, tooth alignment, airway, sleep and learning ability . . . and improve their chances of not needing any orthodontic treatment later.
Early interceptive orthodontics for children
Some malocclusions (crooked teeth, bad ‘bite’, incorrect jaw position) are caused by functional problems such as
- incorrect swallowing
- habits such as thumb sucking and mouth breathing
- underdeveloped jaw bones.
Early intervention and treatment can correct these problems and create a more ideal template for the eruption of the permanent teeth.
By using myofunctional appliances (for retraining muscles) and functional appliances (to gently expand the dental arches and reposition the lower jaw into a more balanced position) we can normally avoid the extraction of permanent teeth.
At the same time we follow an integrative approach, working (where needed) with osteopaths to correct any body imbalances that may affect the teeth and jaw development such as neck, pelvis and leg-length discrepancies, and with other professionals looking at:
- eliminating allergies which may affect the airway and breathing.
- strengthening the immune system through diet modification and where appropriate nutritional supplements.
- correcting dysfunctional breathing – assessing and correct dysfunctional breathing.
Straight teeth – beautiful smile
Once all the permanent teeth have erupted we correct the alignment of the individual teeth to create a beautiful smile.
Invisalign Aligners – an ‘invisible’ alternative to braces. A series of clear plastic aligners is used to gradually straighten the teeth using computer scanning of the dental models and 3D imaging to determine the final position of the teeth and create the aligners. These are worn 24 hours per day, except for eating. The total length of time depends on the severity of the malocclusion. More about Invisalign Aligners
Braces – small metal or ceramic (tooth coloured) brackets are bonded to the teeth and a series of wires is used to align the teeth over a 9 – 12 month period.
Amongst our patients it is becoming more common for adults are choosing to have orthodontics for cosmetic and/or health reasons.
In some cases it is the preferred or only way of correcting temporomandibular (TMJ) disorders and symptoms such as headaches, neck and shoulder pain, blocked sinuses and ear problems. More about TMJ
Where necessary we co-treat with different practitioners such as osteopaths, breathing specialists, GPs and naturopaths.
Using a combination of lightwire appliances for gentle expansion, build-ups bonded to the teeth for bite correction, and Invisalign aligners, we can offer virtually invisible orthodontic treatment, as well as creating beautiful smiles.
Retaining the orthodontic correction is an important part of the orthodontic treatment. It takes the surrounding bone several months to catch up with, and firm up around, the newly positioned teeth.
We stress the need to wear retainers for 1 – 2 years following the orthodontic treatment (usually only at night) and we regularly monitor the teeth for any movement or bite problems.
In adults, it is especially difficult to change functional problems that may contribute to relapse of the teeth and we usually devise a plan for permanent retention such as bonded wires and occlusal splints for wearing at night.