My typical day as an orthodontic nurse is full of variety. From bonding treatments to space closure, every case is different because each patient requires a unique prescription.
Today’s list included a de-bond for a Class III surgical patient, which is always interesting.
Surgical patients have usually been in treatment for three or more years, and it can be a long, often arduous process.
The transformation is remarkable to see first-hand, and de-bond day in particular is very exciting. As with all our de-bond appointments, we showed the patient the study models we created using the mould of their mouth prior to treatment, as well as all of their extra- and intra-oral photographs. Our patient was amazed by the change, and said they had actually forgotten how uncomfortable their original alignment and bite had felt.
Orthodontics is an ever-changing field; there are always innovative new products being designed and trialled. In the time since my own orthodontic treatment was completed ten years ago, so much progress has been made. With lingual appliances and products such as Invisalign, treatment is more aesthetically pleasing, particularly for older patients.
Orthodontic treatment is provided to a broad spectrum of patients. In the dental hospital where I work we treat people of all ages and with varying medical histories and requirements. Working in the hospital also means that I get to see patients undergoing orthognatic surgery, and these cases are ones I find particularly interesting. The results of these procedures are not only shown through the patients’ teeth, but also in their faces.
Many patients who come to us for surgery have suffered confidence issues relating to how the position of their jaw determines the shape of their face. Some patients even say they have avoided eating in public due to feeling embarrassment, as the position of their jaws has prevented them from biting easily.
Another common condition we see is hypodontia (missing teeth). Our orthodontists work closely with restorative dentists to give these patients a ‘perfect smile’, using braces to strategically align the teeth and reduce any gap left by an absent tooth. The patient will typically have implants or bridges fitted to finish their treatment and create the appearance of a full set of teeth.
I love being an orthodontic nurse because of the variety in the work, the opportunities to team up and learn from dentists from other specialities, and the incredible advancements being made on a regular basis. I enjoy getting to see my patients every six to eight weeks, and being able to witness the improvements that orthodontic treatment can bring to their life.
Watching a patient leave a de-bond day appointment with the biggest smile on their face is just as satisfying now as it was when I first joined the clinic. I hope to continue developing my skills in this field and assist in transforming patients’ smiles.