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82 Third Avenue
Rondebosch East 7780
Tel: 021 696 3876
Fax: 0866 365 879
DR AMENAH SHAIKH BChD, MSc, MChD Ortho (UWC)
108 Lower Gordonsbay Road
Strand 7140
Tel: 021 853 8846
Cell: 083 962 0902
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Orthodontics

What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a unique specialty of dentistry that contributes to the physical and psychological development of people of all ages.

Orthodontics is the specialty branch of dentistry that focuses entirely on diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The technical term for these problems is "malocclusion" which literally means "bad bite."

The practice of orthodontics requires extensive professional skill in the design, application, and control of corrective appliances (braces) to bring teeth, lips, and jaws into proper alignment and achieve facial balance.

What is an Orthodontist?

Teeth and sometimes faces are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment; therefore it is very important that the treatment be properly done. An orthodontist, like Dr. Shaikh, is a specialist who only treats orthodontic problems.

Dr. Shaikh has devoted four years of full-time comprehensive orthodontic training at an accredited University program in addition to five and a half years of dental school and 18 years of lecturing and training both undergraduate and postgraduate students. This advanced training included topics such as growth and development, genetics, biomechanics, and anatomy; as well as clinical skills in the design, application and control of braces and removable appliances.

When Should Orthodontic Treatment Begin?

An early orthodontic screening examination allows Dr. Shaikh to best determine the optimum time for treatment to begin. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends this visit for every child by the age of 7. This does not mean that all children need treatment at this age, but it does allow Dr. Shaikh to assess each individual case to determine who could benefit from early intervention. In some cases, early intervention can prevent the need for future treatment or at least reduce the complexity of future treatment, reduce the need for extractions and gain a better overall result. Please remember, however, that orthodontic treatment is not only limited to children, with about 1/4 of patients treated in orthodontic practices today being adults.

How Does Orthodontic Treatment Work?

Braces use steady, gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that Dr. Shaikh places on your teeth, and the archwire that connects them, are the main components. Dr. Shaikh shapes the archwire to move your teeth into your ideal bite. As the wire tries to return to its original shape, it applies pressure to actually move your teeth to their new positions.

What is Phase I & Phase II Treatment?

Phase I is treatment as early as age 8 or 9 years or earlier that may involve partial braces to expand space for developing adult teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, underbites, or harmful habits. Not all children need this interceptive treatment, but a screening examination to determine this is recommended. Phase II is considered later when all the permanent teeth are in place. Phase II involves full braces, which give maximum control over the movement of teeth, whereas plates or "retainers" can only tip teeth in certain directions. The correction of rotated teeth, and any movement of teeth that involves more than simple tipping movements, are best achieved with braces.

What about Adult Treatment?

Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. The biological process involved in tooth movement is the same in both adults and children. The health of the teeth, gums, and supporting bone is very important to the success of orthodontic treatment in adults as well as children.  Because an adult's bones are no longer growing, certain extreme corrections involving the facial bones cannot be accomplished with braces alone. Sometimes, adult orthodontic treatment may have to be combined with the efforts of an oral surgeon to achieve the final result.