ALL OF YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
- Common Treatments
- Two Phase Treatment
- Types Of Braces
- Types of Appliances
- Surgical Orthodontics
- Craniofacial Orthodontics
Orthodontics can be used to treat and correct a number of issues that, left untreated, can cause a lifetime of dental difficulty. When the teeth are aligned and the bite fits just right, excellent dental health is always within reach.
By determining your orthodontic needs, you’re taking the first step toward better health, self-confidence and, of course, a great looking smile. Whether your teeth are crooked, crowded or overlapping, schedule a consultation to find out what all your options are.
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a highly misunderstood concept. Patients that require treatment in “Phase One” are those patients whose needs, if addressed early, will allow for a better final overall treatment outcome.
The goal of Phase-One treatment is to help the jaw develop in a way that will accommodate all of the permanent teeth and improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. Children often exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. A jaw that is growing too much or is too narrow can be recognized at an early age. If children over the age of six are found to have a jaw discrepancy, they are possible candidates for early orthodontic treatment.
Planning now can save your smile later. Children benefit tremendously from early phase treatment. Receiving early treatment may prevent the removal of permanent teeth later in life, or the need for surgical procedures to realign the jaws.
We will take orthodontic records to determine your unique treatment needs. Records consist of models or digital scans of the teeth, x-rays, and photographs. During your child's initial consultation, your doctor may take records to determine if early treatment is necessary.
At the end of the first phase of treatment the teeth are not in their final positions. This will be accomplished in the second phase of treatment. Your child will go into what is called a "resting period". During this time, the doctors will monitor your child as the remaining baby teeth are lost and the adult teeth erupt. Recall appointments are generally every six months.
Retainers may not be recommended if they would interfere with eruption.
The goal of the second phase is to make sure each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly. Phase two usually involves full upper and lower braces.
The second phase begins when all permanent teeth have erupted, and usually requires braces on all the teeth for an average of 18 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure you retain your beautiful smile.
Traditional Metal Braces
Metal braces are what most people visualize when they think of traditional braces. They are the most common choice among orthodontic patients. With a lower profile and an overall decrease in size, traditional metal braces are much more comfortable than they were in the past.
Invisalign® uses a series of invisible, removable, and comfortable aligners to straighten your teeth. A popular choice among adults and older adolescents, Invisalign offers a cosmetic option for those who want to discretely improve their smile.
Ceramic braces are made of clear materials that are less visible on the teeth than metal braces. For this reason, ceramic braces are used on those who prefer or require braces but also have cosmetic concerns. While they are visually less prominent, they do require more attention to oral hygiene as ceramic braces are larger than their metal counterparts.
Gold braces are similar to traditional metal braces in many ways. They are made of stainless steel but are uniquely coated in gold. The gold coating may be considered a more cosmetic option than traditional metal braces.
Elastics (Rubber Bands)
Wearing elastics (or rubber bands) improves the ﬁt of your upper and lower teeth. Wear rubber bands as instructed, and remember that the rubber bands work far more efﬁciently if they are worn as prescribed.
The Herbst® appliance reduces overbite by encouraging the lower jaw for ward and the upper molars backward. This ﬁxed appliance is used mostly for younger, growing children and is worn for about 12-15 months.
The palatal expander "expands" (or widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. Your orthodontist will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.
Retainers may be removable or ﬁxed. They hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after your teeth have been straightened. Your orthodontist will instruct you on how to care for your retainer and about the duration of the wear. Wearing your retainer as directed is crucial to prevent regression of your treatment.
Separators or Spacers
Separators are little rubber doughnuts that may be placed between your teeth to push them apart so that orthodontic bands may be placed during your next appointment. The separators will be removed before we place the bands. Separators do not mix well with sticky foods, toothpicks, or ﬂoss.
If you wear braces or a retainer, it is imperative for you to wear a mouthguard during contact sports. Ask a team member for a complimentary mouthguard and we will properly fit it.
TAKING CARE OF YOUR MOUTHGUARD
Similar to a retainer, braces, or any other special dental appliance, it is important to take care of your mouthguard by storing it properly and keeping it clean. Equally important is to know when to replace your old mouthguard with a new one. Here are a few simple tips:
- Gently scrub your mouthguard after each use with a tooth brush and toothpaste.
- Store your mouthguard in a protective case.
- Do not leave your mouthguard in the sun or in hot water, because it may melt or become deformed.
- Do not wear a retainer with your mouthguard.
- Do not chew on or cut pieces off of your mouthguard.
- Replace your mouthguard at the beginning of every new sports season. You should also replace your mouthguard if you notice it has become worn and no longer fits properly.
Surgical orthodontics, also known as orthognathic surgery, is a type of orthodontic treatment used to correct severe cases involving bite corrections, jaw bone abnormalities, and malocclusions. If your treatment requires surgical orthodontics, your orthodontist will work with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to ensure that you receive the best care possible.
WHEN MIGHT SURGICAL ORTHODONTICS BE NEEDED?
Surgical orthodontics may be used to treat adults with improper bites or other aesthetic concerns. Typically, jaw growth stops by age 16 in females and 18 in males. In order to receive orthognathic surgery, the jaw must be done growing. The need for surgical orthodontics occurs when the jaws do not line up correctly, and a proper bite cannot be achieved with orthodontic treatment alone. Orthognathic surgery will help properly align the jaw, and orthodontic braces will then be used to move the teeth into their proper position.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED ORTHOGNATHIC SURGERY?
Your orthodontist can tell you if orthognathic surgery is needed as part of your treatment. Depending on the severity of your case and the alignment of your jaw, you may or may not need surgery.
HOW DOES ORTHOGNATHIC SURGERY WORK?
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon will perform your orthognathic surgery, and the surgery will take place in a hospital. Orthognathic surgery can take several hours depending on each individual case. Once the surgery is complete, you will have about a two-week rest period. Since orthognathic surgery is a major treatment, we recommend that you schedule some time away from work and school during the healing process. After your jaw has healed, your orthodontist will once again “fine-tune” your bite. After surgery, you will have to wear braces, and most braces are removed within 6 to 12 months following surgery. After your braces are removed, you will wear a retainer to help maintain your new smile.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH ORTHOGNATHIC SURGERY?
As with any major medical surgery, there may be certain risks of having orthognathic surgery. However, the process of orthognathic surgery is not new, and it has been performed for many years in practices and hospitals. If you're concerned about an upcoming treatment with orthognathic surgery, please contact our practice and let us know. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have, and provide you with any additional information. Your comfort is important to us.
WHAT ARE THE REWARDS OF ORTHOGNATHIC SURGERY?
For many patients, the most important reward of having orthognathic surgery is achieving a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime. Whether you need orthodontic treatment to correct a bad bite, malocclusion, or jaw abnormality, orthognathic surgery can help restore your confidence and leave you smiling with confidence for many years to come.
WHAT IS CRANIOFACIAL ORTHODONTICS?
Craniofacial orthodontics is a sub-specialty of orthodontics that focuses on the treatment of patients with birth conditions such as cleft lip and palate. The orthodontist will work with a team comprised of speech pathologists, oral surgeons, and craniofacial plastic surgeons in planning treatment to correct cleft lip and palate, as well as other jaw and face abnormalities. As a member of a craniofacial team, a craniofacial orthodontist evaluates tooth and jaw development and growth.
WHAT IS A CLEFT LIP AND PALATE?
Cleft lip and cleft palate are facial malformations in which the parts of the face that form the upper lip and mouth remain split, instead of sealing together before birth. Similar splits can occur in the roof of the mouth, or palate. Clefting results when there is not enough tissue in the mouth or lip area, and the tissue that is available does not join together properly. While the defect occurs in early fetal development, in most cases, the cause is unknown, though there appears to be links with genetics and the result of maternal environmental exposures during pregnancy.