Orthodontics

Early Treatment

When is the best time to begin orthodontics?
Though an orthodontist can enhance a smile at any age, there is an optimal time period to begin treatment. Beginning treatment at this time ensures the greatest result and the least amount of time and expense. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.

What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, an orthodontist can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.

Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?
By the age of 7, the first adult molars erupt, establishing the back bite. During this time, an orthodontist can evaluate front-to-back and side-to-side tooth relationships. For example, the presence of erupting incisors can indicate possible overbite, open bite, crowding or gummy smiles. Timely screening increases the chances for an incredible smile.

What are the advantages of interceptive treatment?
Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:

  • Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
  • Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
  • Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
  • Preserving space for unerupted teeth
  • Reducing the need for tooth removal
  • Reducing treatment time with braces

Are you a candidate for orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontics is not merely for improving the aesthetics of the smile; orthodontic treatment improves bad bites (malocclusions). Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. Malocclusions affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth or feel about your smile.

Why should malocclusions be treated?
According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems:

  • Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease.
  • Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping.
  • Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear.
  • Openbites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments.

Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile – it creates a healthier you.

Adolescent Treatment

Between the ages of 11 and 15 is the most common time for orthodontic treatment, and for good reasons. By 12, most if not all of the permanent teeth have erupted and are in place, and crooked teeth, gaps and bad bites can easily be detected. These problems will hardly ever correct themselves, so this is when most parents decide to seek orthodontic treatment.

This is also a good time for orthodontic treatment because many negative associations of braces are not present. Many children in this age range undergo orthodontic treatment, and children are very often able to be convinced to wear braces because they see their friends wearing them, too, and want to fit in.

Besides the benefits of fitting in with their friends, children at this age are growing rapidly, and orthodontists can usually take advantage of these growth spurts to help shape the bite and teeth correctly. And children at this age have high metabolisms, which can help shorten overall treatment time and reduce the discomfort of orthodontic treatment.

Adult treatment

Braces aren’t just for kids anymore. Tooth alignment can be changed at any age if your gums and bone structure are healthy. We offer a variety of treatments that are designed for different age groups – including adults. A new smile can begin today.

Orthodontic treatment at later stages in life can dramatically improve your personal appearance and self-esteem. Improving the health of your teeth and gums is equally important. Crooked teeth and a bad bite can contribute to gum and bone loss, tooth decay, abnormal wear of the tooth enamel and surfaces, headaches and jaw joint (TMJ/TMD) pain.

Good news! The new techniques and appliances we use greatly reduce discomfort levels, decrease the frequency of visits, shorten treatment time and may allow you to choose from several options. Your options may include metal braces, translucent braces or transparent aligners that can be worn at night to improve mild cases of misaligned teeth.

During the initial examination, we will be able to determine the best possible treatment for your individual needs. During this initial examination, we can outline the treatment plan, time of treatment expected and the approximate cost.

A large percentage of our patients are adults, and they agree that it’s never too late to improve their greatest asset – their smile.

Types of Braces (Metal, Ceramic and Invislaign)

Metal Braces
Metal braces are the most common type. They are made of high-grade stainless steel. Today's metal braces are smaller, more comfortable and more attractive.

Ceramic Braces
Ceramic braces are made of translucent (clear) material. They are most popular with adult patients, due to their cosmetic appeal. The only drawback to ceramic brackets are that they are more fragile, and the elastic ties can discolor between orthodontic visits.

Invisalign®
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.

Retention

When we remove your braces, we will begin the retention stage of your treatment. The retention phase lasts for a minimum of 24 months. Your final orthodontic result depends on your retainers, so follow through with the hard work you’ve put in so far. Remember to remove your retainer before brushing, and brush your retainer before placing it back in your mouth.

Elastics

Elastics are a vital part of treatment and are also contingent upon patient compliance. They add extra pressure to the braces to help move the teeth. Generally worn at all times (excluding eating and brushing your teeth), elastics should be changed at least once a day. They come in various sizes as they are each used for a specific purpose. We will provide you with the appropriate size.

It is important to wear them consistently or treatment setbacks may occur. If only one day is missed, it could cause your teeth to shift back to their original position!

Orthognatic Surgery

Corrective jaw surgery (orthognathic surgery) treats and corrects abnormalities of the facial bones, specifically the jaws and the teeth. Often, these abnormalities cause difficulty associated with chewing, talking, sleeping and other routine activities. Orthognathic surgery corrects these problems and, in conjunction with orthodontic treatment, will improve the overall appearance of the facial profile.

 

Using the latest in digital imaging technology, we will demonstrate the overall functional and aesthetic benefits of orthognathic surgery. Computerized treatment planning minimizes treatment times, recovery periods and the overall efficacy of your surgery. State-of-the-art materials such as titanium plates and miniature screws provide stability, strength and predictability to your treatment.  These advances in technology, procedures and equipment reduce post-surgical recovery time, thus allowing patients to return to their normal routines soon after the surgery.

Orthognathic surgery may be unnecessary if orthodontic treatment can correct the problem. With the latest advances in orthodontics, this is sometimes the case. We will determine if orthognathic surgery is the correct treatment option for you.

Foods to Avoid for patients with braces

For most situations, common sense will tell you what to avoid. Hard foods, sticky foods and foods high in sugar must be avoided. Hard foods can break or damage wires and brackets. Sticky foods can get caught between brackets and wires. Minimize sugary foods; they cause tooth decay and related problems. Nail biting, pencil and pen chewing and chewing on foreign objects should be avoided.

Examples of Sticky Foods to Avoid:
Gum (sugar-free or regular)
Licorice
Sugar Daddies
Toffee
Tootsie Rolls
Caramels
Starburst

Examples of Hard Foods to Avoid:
Ice
Nuts
Hard taco shells
French bread crust/rolls
Corn on the cob
Apples and carrots (unless cut into small pieces)
Bagels
Chips
Jolly Ranchers
Pizza crust
Uncooked carrots (unless cut)

Minimize Sugary Foods like:
Cake
Ice Cream
Cookies
Pie
Candy

Only Once a Day:
Soda
Sweetened tea
Gatorade
Kool-Aid
Drinks with sugar

It’s important to regularly check your braces for bent or loose wires and brackets. In the event of a loose/broken wire or bracket, call our office immediately to arrange an appointment for repair.