Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry specializing in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of jaw, face and bite irregularities (malocclusions*).
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. 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!
*Malocclusion is the technical term for teeth that don’t fit together correctly. Malocclusions not only affect the teeth, but also the appearance of the face. Most malocclusions are inherited; however some are due to acquired habits such as thumb sucking and tongue thrusting. The spacing left from an adult tooth being extracted or an early loss of a baby tooth can also contribute to a malocclusion.
Orthodontic Treatment (Braces)
The benefits of orthodontic treatment often go beyond the obvious physical changes of an improved bite and straighter teeth; it’s also a great way to improve a person’s overall self-image. While having beautiful straight teeth is important, even more important is the need to alleviate any potential health problems associated with the teeth or jaw. Crooked teeth or jaw problems may contribute to improper cleaning of teeth, leading to tooth decay and, possibly, gum disease or total tooth loss. Orthodontic problems that go untreated can lead to chewing and digestion difficulties, speech impairments, and abnormal wear of tooth surfaces. Over time, excessive strain on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth can affect the jaw joints leading to problems such as headaches or face and neck pain.
If treatment is necessary, we will thoroughly discuss which treatment option is best suited for you!
Reasons for orthodontic treatment (braces) adults & children:
- Breathing or Swallowing Problems: Mouth breathing can lead to snoring and sleep apnea.
- Crossbite: One or more upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth (towards the tongue).
- Crowding: Involving extra teeth or malpositioned teeth.
- Deep Overbite: The lower front teeth bite into the upper tissue of the upper teeth.
- Disfiguring of The Face & Mouth: Affects the development of the jaw and position of the teeth.
- Jaw & Jaw Joint Pain
- Missing or Extra Teeth: Due to tooth decay, injuries, or inherited problems.
- Overjet (protruding upper teeth): teeth that protrude beyond normal and are usually associated with a short lower jaw.
- Self-Image: An attractive smile can boost a person’s self-image and confidence.
- Spacing Between Teeth: Teeth are missing or may be too small or too large.
- Speech, Chewing or Biting Problems
- Underbite (lower jaw protrusion): Lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw.
When treatment is completed, the braces and/or appliances are removed and a new appliance is made. Usually these retainers are removable and will maintain the changes made to your teeth if worn continuously until the teeth and bone are stabilized in their new positions.
Treatment and retention times vary depending on each individual case.
Clear Aligner Braces (ClearCorrect)
ClearCorrect: ClearCorrect is the clear and simple alternative to braces.
It’s a series of clear, custom-made, removable aligners that gradually straighten your teeth as you wear them, each aligner moving your teeth just a little bit at a time.
They’re practically invisible, so most people won’t even know you’re in treatment, they fit you perfectly, so they’re more comfortable than regular braces, and they’re removable, so you can eat whatever you like and clean your teeth normally.
Ask your doctor for more information about ClearCorrect and what it can do for you.
Care Following Orthodontics – Retainers
When braces are finally removed, the “retention” phase begins for most individuals. The objective of this phase is to ensure the teeth do not regress back to their previous position. A retainer will be used to maintain the improved position of the teeth. A retainer is a fixed or removable dental appliance which has been custom-made to fit the teeth. Retainers are generally made from transparent plastic and thin wires to optimize the comfort of the patient.
Retainers are worn for varying amounts of time, depending on the type of orthodontic treatment and the age of the patient. Perseverance and commitment are required to make this final stage of treatment successful. If the retainer is not worn as directed, treatment can fail or take much longer than anticipated
What do I need to consider when using a retainer?
There are a few basic things to consider for proper use and maintenance of your retainer.
Don’t Lose The Appliance: Removable retainers are very easy to lose. It is advisable to place your retainer in the case it came in while eating, drinking, and brushing. Leaving a retainer folded in a napkin at a restaurant or in a public restroom can be very costly if lost because a replacement must be created. A brightly colored case serves as a great reminder.
Don’t Drink While Wearing a Retainer:is tempting to drink while wearing a retainer because of the unobtrusive nature of the device. However, excess liquid trapped under the trays can vastly intensify acid exposure to teeth, increasing the probability of tooth decay.
Don’t Eat While Wearing a Retainer: It can be difficult and awkward to eat while wearing a removable retainer and it can also damage the device. Food can get trapped around a Hawley retainer wire or underneath the palate, causing bad breath. When worn on the upper and lower arches simultaneously, VFR retainers do not allow the teeth to meet. This means that chewing is almost impossible.
Clean The Retainer Properly: Removable retainers can become breeding grounds for calculus and bacteria. It is essential to clean the inside and outside thoroughly as often as possible. Hawley retainers can be cleaned with a toothbrush. Because harsh bristles can damage the PVC surface of a VFR, denture cleaner or a specialized retainer cleaner is recommended for this type of device.
Wear The Retainer as Directed: This phase of treatment is critical. The hard work has been done; the braces are off, and now it is tempting not to wear the retainer as often as the orthodontist recommends. Retainers are needed to give the muscles, tissues, and bones time to stabilize the teeth in their new alignment. Failure to wear the retainer as directed can have regrettable consequences, such as teeth returning to their original position, added expense, and lost time.
If you have any questions or concerns about retainers, please contact our office.