Today, orthodontic treatment is fast, simple, convenient and affordable for patients of all ages. An attractive smile is just one of the benefits. Orthodontic treatment results in correctly aligned teeth that provide ideal jaw function and a great smile! Additionally, your teeth are easier to clean and more resistant to gum disease. Perhaps most importantly, orthodontic treatment almost always provides improved self-confidence.
How Treatment Works
Each patient’s orthodontic condition requires a treatment plan based on a special computerized diagnosis of the case. The treatment process involves X-rays, dental impressions and photographs. Braces have one aim: to use gentle pressure to move teeth into proper alignment. Treatment time varies depending on age, patient compliance and the severity of the condition. Generally, treatment lasts for 18-24 months and is facilitated by patient cooperation.
Ceramic braces are made of translucent (clear) material. They are most popular with adult patients, due to their cosmetic appeal. The only drawbacks to ceramic brackets are that they are more fragile, and the elastic ties can discolor between orthodontic visits.
The Invisalign System is a series of clear overlay templates – called aligners – that have been generated by computer simulation to gradually move the teeth. This system is available to adult patients with certain orthodontic bite problems. Ask us if you are a candidate for the Invisalign system.
Appliances We Use
Headgear is often used in children to correct an excessive overbite. This is done by placing pressure against the upper teeth and jaw, which would hold the teeth in position or help move them into better positions. The severity of the problem determines the length of time headgear needs to be worn. Headgear is only worn while sleeping. The key to success with your headgear appliance is consistency.
Sucking is a natural reflex that relaxes and comforts babies and toddlers. Children usually cease thumb sucking when the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Typically, children stop between the ages of 2 and 4 years. Thumb sucking that persists beyond the eruption of primary teeth can cause improper growth of the mouth and misalignment of the teeth. If you notice prolonged and/or vigorous thumb sucking behavior in your child, talk to your dentist.
One solution to thumb sucking is an appliance called a “fixed palatal crib.” This appliance is put on the child’s upper teeth by an orthodontist. It’s placed behind on the upper teeth on the roof of the mouth. The crib consists of semicircular stainless steel wires that are fastened to molars using steel bands. The stainless steel wires fit behind the child’s upper front teeth, and they are barely visible. The crib usually stops the habit of thumb sucking within the first day of use.
Tongue Thrusting Appliance
Tongue thrusting occurs when the patient presses his or her tongue against the front teeth, usually when swallowing, speaking or resting the tongue. If thrusting is constant, this can cause problems with teeth alignment and must be fixed.
We prefer to correct tongue thrusting by giving patients a tongue thrusting appliance. This appliance, similar to a mouth guard, is usually worn at night. Other times, a more permanent appliance is prescribed and can be only be adjusted by our office.