Orthodontics is an area of dentistry that straightens crooked teeth and corrects malocclusions, or bad bites. Orthodontic treatment involves constant pressure on the teeth which pushes the teeth towards the correct position and causes the bone in the path to dissolve. Where there is negative pressure in the area that follows the moving tooth, bone growth is stimulated. As teeth slowly move through, bone grows to support the teeth in their new position.
The four common treatment options are: standard metal braces; clear braces; concealed braces (placed on the inside of teeth); and Invisalign (the virtually invisible plastic or polymer aligners). The length of treatment varies anywhere from several months to several years, depending on the severity and complexity of each individual case. Patients will be advised to wear a retainer after the braces are removed.
The health and appearance of the gums play an important role in the general aesthetics of a smile. A ‘gummy smile’ describes a smile where there is too much exposure of the gum above the upper front teeth, which makes the teeth appear shorter. If this is the case, a gum lift may be the most appropriate solution.
A gum lift is a surgical procedure where the gums are lifted to improve not only their appearance but also the size and shape of the teeth. The position and shape of the gum is surgically modified to show more of the natural teeth and less of the gum when smiling.
Removal of excessive gum and reshaping of the gum line can give a fuller, more aesthetically pleasing smile. Alternatively, a gum lift may only be required for one or two teeth to create harmony and symmetry. It can be performed in combination with other cosmetic dentistry procedures or on its own.
The procedure is performed in one visit. It is typically minimally invasive with mild post-operative discomfort. Maturity of the gums to their final position takes approximately 12 weeks.
For some patients, a gummy smile can be corrected using a special laser gum-reshaping treatment to remove excess gum and expose more of the tooth.