For Children and Adults
It’s best for the orthodontist to see children by age 7 to advise if orthodontic treatment is required and it is the best time for that patient to be treated. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by that time and crossbites, crowding, and other problems can be evaluated. When treatment is begun early, the orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaw and guide incoming permanent teeth. Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment.
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age and adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile. One of every five patients in orthodontic treatment is over 21. Jaw surgery is more often required for adult orthodontic patients because their jaws are not growing. Adults also may have experienced some breakdown or loss of their teeth and bone that supports the teeth and may require periodontal treatment before, during, and/or after orthodontic treatment. Bone loss can also limit the amount and direction of tooth movement that is advisable.
For most people, a beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontics. After your braces come off, you’ll feel more self-confident. During your treatment, we want you to feel as comfortable as possible.
How Orthodontic Treatment Works
Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, ceramic, or plastic. They may be removable or they may be brackets bonded to the teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces slowly move teeth to a corrected position. This is a great time to wear braces! Gone are the days when a metal band with a bracket was placed around each tooth. You can choose brackets that are clear or metallic color. You can choose the color of the ties that hold the wire in brackets. Wires are also less noticeable than they used to be and the latest materials move teeth faster with less discomfort to patients.
Duration of Treatment
Treatment time typically ranges from one to three years, depending on the growth of the patient’s mouth and face and the severity of the problem. Patients grow at different rates and will respond variously to orthodontic treatment, so the time to case completion may differ from the original estimate. The patient’s diligent use of any prescribed rubber bands or headgear is an important factor in achieving the most efficient treatment. Interceptive, or early treatment procedures, may take as few as six months.
Millions of Americans suffer from chronic facial and neck pain as well as recurrent headaches. In some cases this pain is due to Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD.
Your temporomandibular joints, or jaw joints, connect your lower jawbone to your skull. As you may imagine, these joints get quite a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement.
Symptoms of TMD include:
Pain in the jaw area
Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
Frequent headaches or neck aches
Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
Swelling on the sides of the face
Muscle spasms in the jaw area
A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth
Should you notice any of these symptoms, let us know! We can help advise you as to whether they indicate the presence of TMD, and what sort of treatment is appropriate for you.
If you don’t have any of these symptoms, let’s keep it that way! There are some simple things you can do at home or work to prevent TMD from occurring in your jaw joints:
Relax your face – remember the rule: “Lips together, teeth apart”
Avoid grinding your teeth
Avoid constant gum chewing
Don’t cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder – either use a headset or hold the receiver to your ear
Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
Do not sit with your chin rested on your hand
Practice good posture – keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders squared
Orthodontic’s Glossary of Terms
Parts of Braces
Appliance: Anything your orthodontist attaches to your teeth that moves your teeth or changes the shape of your jaw.
Archwire: The metal wire that acts as a track to guide your teeth along as they move. It is changed periodically throughout treatment as your teeth move to their new positions.
Band: A metal ring that is cemented to your tooth and goes completely around your tooth. Bands provide a way to attach brackets to your teeth.
Bond: The seal created by orthodontic cement that holds your appliances in place.
Bracket: A metal or ceramic part cemented (“bonded”) to your tooth that holds your archwire in place.
Coil Spring: A spring that fits between your brackets and over your archwire to open space between your teeth.
Crossbow (Xbow) Class II Corrector: The Crossbow is a phase one appliance that is used in patients where the upper teeth are ahead of the lower teeth. It is an alternative to the Herbst appliance in that it is not removable by the patient. It can also be used to open space for the upper canine teeth. It has the advantage over other appliances in that the spring that supplies the tooth moving force can be placed on one or both sides.
Elastic (Rubber Band): A small rubber band that is hooked between different points on your appliance to provide pressure to move your teeth to their new positions.
Elastic: Tie The rubber band that fits around your bracket to hold the archwire in place. They come in a variety of colors.
Headgear: Headgear uses an external wire apparatus known as a facebow to gently guide the growth of your face and jaw by moving your teeth into proper position. The force is applied to the facebow by a spring-loaded neck strap or head strap. The straps have a safety release that disconnects if the facebow is pulled or snagged.
Headgear Tube: A round, hollow attachment on your back bands. The inner bow of your headgear fits into it.
Hook: A welded or removable arm to which elastics are attached.
Ligature: A thin wire that holds your archwire into your bracket.
Lip Bumper: A lip bumper is an archwire attached to a molded piece of plastic. The lip bumper holds back the molars on your lower jaw to provide more space for your other teeth.
Mouthguard: A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities.
Palatal Expander: A device that makes your upper jaw wider.
Retainer: An appliance that is worn after your braces are removed, our retainers are removable.
Separator (or Spacer): A small rubber ring that creates space between your teeth before the bands are attached.
Tie Wire: A fine wire that is twisted around your bracket to hold the archwire in place.
Wax: Wax is used to stop your braces from irritating your lips.
Banding: The process of fitting and cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.
Cephalometic X-ray: An x-ray of your head that shows the relative positions and growth of the face, jaws, and teeth.
Consultation: A meeting with your orthodontist to discuss a treatment plan.
Debanding: The process of removing cemented orthodontic bands from your teeth.
Debonding: The process of removing cemented orthodontic brackets from your teeth.
Impressions: The process of making a model of your teeth by biting into a soft material that hardens into a mold of your teeth. Your orthodontist will use these impressions to prepare your treatment plan.
Indirect Bonding: The process of placing the brackets on the patient’s model and creating a transfer tray which is used to bond the brackets on the patient’s teeth. This improves the accuracy of the bracket position which reduces overall treatment time. It also reduces the time it takes to place the braces in the patient’s mouth.
Ligation: The process of attaching an archwire to the brackets on your teeth.
Panoramic X-ray: An x-ray that rotates around your head to take pictures of your teeth, jaw and other facial areas.
Life with Braces
Eating with Braces
What can you eat? Let’s talk about what you shouldn’t eat! If you’ve been wanting to drop a few pounds, the first week wearing braces is just your chance! For the first day or so, stick to soft foods. Avoid tough meats, hard breads, and raw vegetables. Before long, you’ll be able to bite a cucumber again. But you’ll need to protect your orthodontic appliances when you eat for as long as you’re wearing braces.
Foods to Avoid
Chewy foods: bagels, hard rolls, licorice
Crunchy foods: popcorn, ice, chips
Sticky foods: caramels, gum
Hard foods: nuts, candy
Foods you have to bite into: corn on the cob, apples, carrots
Chewing on hard things (for example, pens, pencils or fingernails) can damage the braces. Damaged braces will cause treatment to take longer.
When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 8 ounces of warm water and rinse your mouth vigorously. If the tenderness is severe, take whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain. The lips, cheeks, and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!
Loosening of Teeth
This is to be expected throughout treatment. Don’t worry! It’s normal. Teeth must loosen first so they can be moved. The teeth will again become rigidly fixed in their new – corrected – positions.
Loose Wire or Band
Don’t be alarmed if a wire or band comes loose. This happens occasionally. If a wire protrudes and is irritating, use a blunt instrument (the back of a spoon or the eraser end of a pencil) and carefully, gently push the irritating wire under the archwire. Simply get it out of the way. If irritation to the lips or mouth continues, place wax or wet cotton on the wire to reduce the annoyance. Call our office as soon as possible for an appointment to check and repair the appliances. If any piece comes off, save it and bring it with you to the office.
Care of Appliances
To successfully complete the treatment plan, the patient must work together with the orthodontist. The teeth and jaws can only move toward their corrected positions if the patient consistently wears the rubber bands, headgear, or other appliances as prescribed. Damaged appliances lengthen the treatment time.
It’s more important than ever to brush and floss regularly when you have braces so the teeth and gums are healthy after orthodontic treatment. Patients who do not keep their teeth clean may require more frequent visits to the dentist for a professional cleaning. Adults who have a history of gum disease should also see a periodontist during orthodontic treatment.
Common Issues with Braces
Sore teeth – Teeth are usually expected to be sore after braces are placed and after each adjustment visit. You can take common over-the-counter analgesics such as Tylenol, Ibuprofen and the likes to help relieve the discomfort. A warm wash cloth can be placed over the jaw can help relieve the discomfort
Wire irritation – a wire may shift and cause irritation. Use the eraser end of a pencil or a cotton swab to move the wire away from the irritated area. Also, cover the end of the wire with a piece of wax given to you by the office. If the wire is long, a clean nail clipper can be used to cut off the long end.
Loose brackets – if a bracket comes loose, leave it alone and call the office to schedule a longer appointment to repair. Brackets and bands are expensive to replace. If bands come off, please bring them to your follow-up appointment for repair.
Loose separators – if a separator comes loose, you can try to re-insert the separators yourself as instructed by the doctor or you can call the office to have it replaced.
Sports/Athletics – a protective mouth-guard is advised for playing contact sports. You can buy a mouth-guard from your local pharmacy store or from our office.
Types of Braces We Provide
The Damon System
We are pleased to offer our patients new Damon System braces and treatment techniques.
Damon System braces allow your teeth to move more comfortably and easily than traditional braces. Thanks to these innovative new braces, achieving your perfect smile will be faster and easier than you ever thought possible.
Better Results in Less Time
With the new Damon System braces, we can achieve terrific results and finish your treatment faster. Depending on your case, this may mean saving many months. After analyzing your specific needs, we will be able to provide you with a treatment plan that will have you smiling soon!
Damon System braces are very precise and effective. With this system, we can reduce the need for many of the time-consuming and complicated procedures that are used with traditional braces.
Fewer Visits to the Office
Because Damon System braces work more efficiently, fewer adjustments are required. As a result, your appointments will be faster and fewer in number.
Due to the unique design of our new braces system, we can move your teeth into their correct positions with much less discomfort than traditional braces. Also, Damon System braces are small, very comfortable, and easy to keep clean.
Orthodontic appliances can be used to correct the jaw shape and direct the growth toward an ideal relationship between the upper and lower jaws. Because children are growing rapidly, they can benefit enormously from an early interceptive phase of orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic appliances are often utilized in the mixed dentition stage to correct these early orthodontic problems. We utilize a wide variety of removable and fixed orthodontic appliance in this early phase of treatment.
There are two basic types of tooth movement appliances, removable and fixed. Removable appliances are made of wires and plastic and can be removed from the mouth by the patient. Their success is totally dependent on the patient’s compliance in wearing the appliance exactly as instructed. Fixed appliances are attached directly to the teeth. There is better control of tooth movement with fixed appliances. However, cooperation from the patient in maintaining excellent oral hygiene while wearing fixed appliances is essential in preventing cavities and gum disease.
Braces do most of the work moving teeth into place. But you may also need to wear dental appliances to help move and protect your teeth. Learn how your braces and appliances work, and know how to take care of them. Wearing your equipment the right way is the fastest way to straight teeth.
Braces put steady pressure on your teeth to move them into place. As your teeth move, your orthodontist will adjust the braces.
Wear your retainers full time, until the doctor instructs otherwise.
Take your retainers out when eating…and always put retainers in their case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants.)
Clean retainers thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors. Efferdent® or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used, but do not take the place of brushing.
When retainers are not in your mouth they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case. Pets love to chew on them!
Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get used to them faster.
Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken call us immediately.
If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers, or your retainers need adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust them yourself.
Always bring your retainers to your appointments.
Retainer replacement is expensive…with proper care they will last for years!
Remove retainers when swimming.
Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine, and napkins.
Invisalign vs. Traditional Braces: Which Option is Right for You?
At our practice we understand that the decision to undergo orthodontic treatment is an important one and requires careful consideration of all of the factors involved. It is imperative for you to review all of your options and to make the most informed decision possible about the type of treatment that’s right for you before committing to a proposed treatment plan. Many patients come to our practice specifically seeking treatment with Invisalign or Invisalign Teen systems, but in some cases metal braces can still be one of the best options to treat some orthodontic cases. To learn about the superior benefits that Invisalign offers over traditional braces, or if you have questions that aren’t answered here-contact our dedicated team for a free Invisalign consultation.
For the vast majority of our Invisalign patients, the number one advantage that Invisalign has over traditional metal braces is the transparent nature of the plastic aligners. The overall goal of orthodontic treatment for most of our patients is to improve the beauty of their smile. Even though temporary, unsightly traditional metal braces are often a distant second to the clear aligners of Invisalign, and even more so for our adult patients who need to maintain a professional appearance. If necessary, Invisalign patients can simply remove their aligners for a meeting or special occasion-an option that just isn’t available with traditional braces.
Invisalign is comprised of clear plastic aligners that are designed to have smooth edges instead of the harsh and sharp edges of metal braces. The plastic aligners of Invisalign do not irritate the gums and mouth like metal braces have notoriously been known to do. Braces also require frequent adjustments, tightening, and placement of strong rubber bands that can all cause soreness and discomfort of the mouth. Invisalign patients might feel a small amount of discomfort when wearing the next set of aligners in the series of their treatment, but it dissipates quickly and never as severe as metal braces can be.
Duration of Treatment
Orthodontic treatment with traditional braces can require several years to achieve desired results, but Invisalign achieve expected results in a much shorter amount of treatment time. Patients requiring only minor orthodontic correction, the Invisalign Express system could a viable treatment option to attain desired results in a matter of months and not years. Conventional metal braces often require many office visits for tightening and adjustments whereas Invisalign patients can switch to their new set of aligners in the comfort of their own home and schedule.
The Invisalign and Invisalign Teen orthodontic treatment systems allow patients to maintain a higher level of good oral hygiene. Traditional braces require meticulous cleaning routines that make proper oral hygiene time consuming and laborious. There are also restrictions associated with metal braces because some foods can become lodged in or between spaces in the hardware. Invisalign clear braces are meant to be removed for eating and drinking which makes proper oral hygiene like brushing and flossing more convenient and effective as well. As mentioned before, Invisalign aligners are removed for eating so there are no food restrictions and much less opportunity for food to come into contact with the aligners.
One of the biggest concerns that our patients bring to us is the worry that Invisalign treatments will cost much more than traditional braces which is certainly not always the case. In truth, Invisalign costs are often very comparable to the cost of metal braces when all aspects of treatment are considered. There are some instances where Invisalign is actually more cost effective than traditional braces depending on the scope of treatment and the overall number of office visits required for the entirety of treatment. If you are interested in learning more about Invisalign costs and financing options, then contact our office today. We offer a number of affordable payment plans and financing options that can help Invisalign fit into most budgets.
The overwhelming majority of our patients agree that Invisalign clear braces are far more convenient than traditional metal braces. With Invisalign clear braces there are fewer visits to the dentist and shorter overall treatment times when compared to traditional braces. You can even switch to your next set of aligners at your home and on your schedule. You will also enjoy an enhanced ability to keep your mouth healthy because you can continue your normal oral hygiene routine with Invisalign treatments. There are no food restrictions like with metal braces with Invisalign due to the fact that patients remove the aligners before eating and drinking. Two persistent complaints from patients treated with metal braces is that they are difficult to clean, and that they are uncomfortable after tightening or adjusting them. Invisalign offers the awesome results of traditional braces without any of the major drawbacks that they present.
Contact Our Office for Invisalign
The first order of business when deciding whether Invisalign is going to be an appropriate treatment for your orthodontic needs is to have an Invisalign trained professional assess your candidacy for treatment. Invisalign treatments are ideal for correcting minimally or moderately crooked teeth and gaps in a patient’s smile. For severe cases of crooked, crowded, or misaligned teeth and bite problems, then traditional braces may be better able to achieve the desired results. To learn whether you are a suitable Invisalign candidate, contact our office to schedule your in-depth, free, no-obligation consultation today. Our dedicated professionals and support staff will help you to make the most informed decision possible about your available orthodontic treatment options. With Invisalign or Invisalign Teen we can get you started on the path to an amazing smile without the negative side effects of traditional braces.