Orthodonitics

Exceptional Orthodontic Treatment and Care

Orthodontics

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry specializing in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of jaw, face, and bite irregularities (malocclusions*). Orthodontic treatment is provided by an oral health-care provider known as an orthodontist, who has completed two to three years of additional training beyond dental school.

Recent years have brought about many changes within the dental industry, specifically with regards to orthodontic treatment and care. Now more than ever, patients are experiencing fewer incidences of cavities and missing teeth due to the heightened awareness of fluoride use and preventative dentistry.

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This increasing awareness on the health and look of a patient’s smile has fueled the desire for many to seek out orthodontia not only as a medical necessity but for cosmetic reasons as well.

Whether it’s traditional braces or custom-made removable appliances, orthodontics can help you have the healthy, straight, beautiful smile you’ve been waiting for!

Give us a call today and schedule your orthodontic consultation!

Frequently Asked Questions

Taking care of braces properly and being committed to ideal results is an important part of orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic braces contain many parts and should be protected from damage to ensure ideal results. It is essential to strictly adhere to the instructions provided by your orthodontist to ensure excellent at-home care.

Foods to Avoid

Stick to softer foods for the first few days following the placement of braces to optimize comfort. Throughout the course of treatment, there are types of foods that should be avoided entirely. These foods can snap archwires, displace orthodontic bands, and loosen brackets. Your orthodontist will offer a complete list of foods to steer clear of, but here are some general examples:

  • Hard Foods – Ice cubes, popcorn kernels, and potato chips
  • Sticky Foods – Taffy, gum, bagels, jerky, and caramel
  • Sugary Foods – Candy, jam, jelly, chocolate, breath mints, and
  • On-the-Bone Foods – Chicken wings, barbecue ribs, and corn on the cob

The first step in developing a treatment plan is completion of a thorough visual examination of a patient’s smile. After completing this, your care provider creates diagnostic records which include panoramic x-rays, bite impressions and additional imaging of the jaw joints in some cases. If treatment is needed to realign the teeth, this is discussed extensively.

 

Examining diagnostic records allows for the development of a predictable treatment plan. Your dental professional can also work with an oral surgeon if the symmetry of the face needs to be altered. In the case of an overcrowded mouth, one or several teeth may need to be extracted to prepare for the realignment process. Once the diagnosis and preparation phases are complete, a fixed or removable orthodontic appliance is used to move the teeth and jaw arches into ideal alignment.

Traditional Fixed Braces

Traditional braces are often more affordable and expedient than any other kind of braces – particularly in the case of a severe malocclusion (bad bite). During application of fixed braces, individual brackets are glued to each tooth on the arch and a thin wire connects the brackets. Traditional fixed braces work on the premise that consistent pressure is applied to the teeth. The appliances must modified by an orthodontist at routine appointments to continue exerting appropriate pressure.

There are several different types of brackets available, including metal, ceramic and clear. The metal brackets tend to be the least problematic structurally, but they are also the most visible. Ceramic brackets are equally effective and less visible, but they have a tendency to stain if not cared for properly. Clear brackets are the least visible, but generally cost more and are prone to damage.

The following treatment options are available for patients who choose fixed orthodontics:

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are almost invisible, as they are bonded to the back of the teeth, but the initial affixation is slightly more complex. Lingual braces are comprised of special custom-made brackets, which are connected by a wire. Many wearers prefer the reduced aesthetic impact with these braces, but some report an initial impairment in speech.

Damon System

The Damon System is a more discreet alternative to traditional fixed braces. Light wires are initially used to align the teeth, and are replaced with heavier wires as the teeth become straighter. Traditional braces use elastic rings to hold the wires in place, whereas the creators of the Damon System have replaced these rings with tiny sliding doors.

The biggest advantage of this replacement is the reduction of friction and discomfort. A reduced amount of friction allows this system of self-ligating braces to correct malocclusions quickly, and the lighter wires cause less stress to the periodontal ligaments. The Damon System is less noticeable and quicker, but can be costlier than traditional fixed systems.

SureSmile

SureSmile is a hi-tech system that claims to straighten teeth in a far shorter time than traditional braces. To determine the precise position and angle of each tooth, an OraScanner and/or Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) is used to take a three dimensional picture of the teeth. The archwire for the braces is created by a computer system and used to link the orthodontic brackets. The archwire is activated by body heat. The result is quicker treatment and more precise alignment. The SureSmile system is technologically advanced and effective, but can be among the more expensive forms of fixed braces.

Six Month Smiles

Six Month Smiles is designed to greatly impact aesthetics, as opposed to function. Instead of moving every tooth into alignment, this system focuses mainly on the teeth that are visible when smiling and speaking. Six Month Smiles utilizes small archwires and tooth-colored brackets to make the braces as unobtrusive as possible. Contrary to popular belief, more pressure is not added to move the teeth quickly. These cosmetic braces are popular, effective and can cost less than other technologically advanced systems.

Removable Devices

Invisalign® Clear Braces

The Invisalign system is a series of removable aligning trays, which gradually reposition the teeth into the correct alignment. Generally, aligning trays are worn for two weeks before they are discarded for trays which fit the new positioning of the teeth. Invisalign trays can be easily removed for eating and social functions but must be worn as much as possible for expedient results. Invisalign is a convenient type of orthodontics but requires commitment from the wearer.

The planning stage is the most crucial phase in orthodontic treatment. During this phase, the orthodontist pinpoints a diagnosis and plans the most effective treatment. The planning phase includes conducting thorough examinations, taking x-rays, and keeping meticulous dental and medical records.

Orthodontic treatment is highly predictable, successful, and beneficial when planned appropriately. Not only does a straight smile look attractive, but it also helps stave off a wide range of dental and physical problems, which include: Tooth Decay, Gum Disease, and Digestive Disorders.

Orthodontic irregularities stem from a variety of factors, which can include inherited traits and problems which developed from habits, such as thumb-sucking and tongue thrusting. These irregularities interfere with normal chewing, biting, and speaking functions, in addition to negatively impacting the appearance of teeth. Malocclusions (bad bites) can affect the dental and physical health of the patient.

Digestive disorders, tooth loss, tooth decay, and gum disease have all been correlated with dental misalignment. Fortunately, orthodontic treatments are predictable and incredibly successful. Once a firm diagnosis has been made, your oral health professional can commence effective treatment.

Here is a brief overview of some of the most common orthodontic conditions: Overcrowding, Overbite, Underbite, and Crossbite.

Orthodontic appliances are not just limited to fixed and removable braces. There are many devices available to correct jaw alignment irregularities and reposition the teeth. In some cases, traditional fixed or removable braces are used in conjunction with another type of orthodontic appliance, which serves to fulfill one of the following functions:

  • Expanding the palate to create space
  • Closing large gaps between the teeth
  • Correcting irregularities, such as an elongated mandible (lower jaw) bone or a short maxilla (upper jaw) bone
  • Alleviating crowding in the upper or lower jaw

The field of orthodontics is most commonly associated with treatment for preteens and teenagers, but an increasing amount of adults are choosing to correct jaw irregularities (malocclusions) and misaligned teeth with orthodontics. It is now estimated that approximately one-third of all orthodontic patients are adults.

The major advantage of treating irregularities at a young age is that orthodontic appliances are widely accepted in youth and ideal alignment can be achieved before adulthood. Most orthodontists agree, however, that it is never too late to get braces.

Adjusting to proper oral hygiene with a smile full of brackets, including cleaning around bands and wires, is incredibly important. Effectively cleaning orthodontic appliances ensures that plaque is not allowed to build up around the braces. Typically, if a proper oral hygiene routine is not strictly adhered to, gum inflammation and tooth decay can occur.

When braces are first applied, it can take several days to get used to the new appliances. During this time, the mouth may feel tender or sore. While soreness is rarely problematic enough to warrant additional dental care, contact your orthodontist if soreness becomes highly uncomfortable.

Causes of Orthodontic Soreness

When braces are initially applied or the archwire is changed during an orthodontic adjustment appointment, teeth start to gradually shift toward their new destination. This initial movement causes adjacent tissue to become inflamed. This inflammation causes fibers that join the teeth to the jawbone and gums (periodontal ligaments) to swell. The swelling, in turn, leads to compressed nerve fibers, which are the true cause of orthodontic soreness.

What Can Be Done to Ease Soreness?

It is important to remember that orthodontic discomfort generally decreases within a few days. After the initial affixation of braces, it can take between one and two weeks for the tissues of the tongue, cheek, and lips to adapt to the new orthodontic device. There are several home remedies, however, that will help ease initial discomfort: Wax Application, Chewing on Soft Foods, Eating Berries, and Pain Medication.

If there is obvious damage to the wires, bands, and brackets of your braces, it’s important to see your orthodontist as soon as possible. If you are not in pain as a result of these problems, it’s possible to see a dental professional within the next day or two, but treatment should be prompt.

There are many causes of damage to braces, including:

  • Eating hard foods
  • Trauma to the facial area
  • Chewing inedible objects