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!
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. 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.
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.
Taking care of braces properly and being committed 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 soda
On The Bone Foods – Chicken wings, barbecue ribs and corn on the cob
Cleaning Around Braces
Orthodontic braces create spots where oral bacteria can stick and promote tooth decay. It is crucial to brush your teeth after every meal or snack to rid the teeth of debris and plaque. Flossing is also an essential part of everyday braces care. All sides of each tooth should be carefully cleaned twice a day. Your orthodontist will be able to provide advice on home hygiene techniques with braces.
Preventing Damage During Athletics
Sports are one of the major causes of dislodged and broken orthodontic appliances. Special mouth guards that protect braces should be worn every time a sport is played. Though contact sports, such as football, put orthodontic patients at higher risk for to injury, players of non-contact sports like soccer are also at susceptible to lip lacerations and snapped archwires.
Braces can be rendered ineffective from loose bands, brackets and broken archwires. An appointment should be made with your orthodontist as promptly as possible so appliances can be fixed for maximum function. A broken orthodontic appliance prolongs total treatment time when not corrected.
Commitment to Best Results
Braces require a significant commitment from the wearer to work effectively. It is essential to attend scheduled orthodontic adjustment appointments and follow instructions diligently. Remember: the result of effective treatment is a perfect smile!
If you have any questions or concerns about orthodontic care, please contact us!
Orthodontists aim to prevent and treat irregularities in the jaw and misalignment of the teeth that are the result of genetics, or develop in accordance with a child’s habits. The best way to achieve these goals is to have your child evaluated by an orthodontist as early as age seven; however, children with noticeable facial irregularities may benefit from preventive orthodontic treatment several years earlier.
Orthodontists are highly trained to notice minute problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth – even if a mixture of baby teeth and permanent teeth are present. While the untrained eye might fail to spot these irregularities, an orthodontic check-up allows for early detection of problems and development of efficient treatment plans.
Some of the key signs that an orthodontic problem is present are as follows:
Common Orthodontic Problems for Children
Children often experience overcrowding, jaw growth irregularities, protruding teeth and teeth that are too widely spaced. While some problems are inherited, main causes of acquired orthodontic irregularities are:
Inadequate nutrition or dental hygiene problems
Medical problems, such as birth defects
Habits such as thumb or finger sucking
Breathing through the mouth
Earlier or later loss of baby teeth than is considered normal
How Can an Orthodontist Help my Child?
The orthodontist may take one of several approaches when dealing with children. In some cases, malocclusions or irregularities are carefully monitored and are addressed at a later date. The ideal time to initiate treatment varies with each individual child and is based on their unique diagnosis.
Early orthodontic treatment is beneficial to reduce the amount and duration of later treatment, preventing more complex conditions from occurring. Through early intervention, the orthodontist is able to correct habits that lead to acquired irregularities, increase the confidence of the child, guide the growth of the jawbone, and decrease the risk of injury to protruding teeth.
If you have any further questions about when your child should visit the orthodontist, please contact our office.
Orthodontics is a highly-specialized branch of dentistry that deals with facial and jaw irregularities. As proper alignment of the teeth and jaw arches affects coherent speech, chewing and biting abilities, orthodontic treatment is vital for health and comfort.
What Problems Do Orthodontic Treatments Solve?
There is a wide range of orthodontic treatments available to successfully and expediently alter the alignment of teeth. The type of treatment provided depends on the exact nature of the malocclusion or teeth misalignment. Here is a brief overview of the main classifications of bite and teeth positioning problems:
Overcrowding – The non-eruption of adult teeth and the overcrowding of arch space can lead to misalignment. Additionally, overcrowding may cause twisting and complete displacement of teeth.
Negative Underjet – An underbite is characterized by a pronounced lower jaw, which protrudes further than the upper jaw. This malocclusion causes the chin to look large or pointed.
Overbite – Overbite is a result of a protruding maxilla (upper jaw) in relation to the mandible (lower jaw). This type of malocclusion makes the chin look like it has receded.
What Does Orthodontic Treatment Involve?
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.
There are several types of fixed orthodontic appliances, of which traditional metal braces are the most common. Ceramic, clear or metal brackets are fixed onto each individual tooth for the duration of the treatment, and an archwire is threaded through each one to connect them.
The wire is tightened slightly every few weeks until the desired results are achieved. Typically the fixed brackets are removed after 18-30 months.
Removable devices come in many shapes and sizes and are popular because of their convenience and versatility. Removable devices include headgear, which corrects malocclusions due to developmental problems; retainers, which maintain the correct alignment of the teeth after orthodontic treatment; and Invisalign® trays, which are used for several weeks at a time to correct common teeth alignment problems.
It is important to note that a dental professional creates a custom treatment plan or each individual case. The time-span for corrections with removable devices can greatly vary in accordance with the severity of the original malocclusion.
If you have questions about orthodontic care and procedures, please be sure to contact us.