Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Braces and Invisalign aligners are appliances used to make these corrections.
An orthodontist is a highly trained specialist who has completed two to three years of post-graduate training after graduation from dental school. An orthodontist straightens teeth and makes corrections to the bite, facial profile, and facial growth. They also work closely with oral surgeons with some adult treatment needs where growth cannot be altered.
It is very important that treatment be done properly, as teeth–and sometimes facial structure–are changed permanently by orthodontics. A licensed orthodontic specialist is an expert at moving teeth, helping jaws develop properly, and working with you to help make sure the teeth stay in their new positions. We will work closely with your family dentist–and other specialists you may be referred to for specific concerns–who can best take care of your other dental needs.
Orthodontic treatment improves your smile and your health. When you feel better about yourself, others often feel better about you. Straight teeth will be much easier to clean, helping you maintain good oral health. And you can enjoy that nice piece of steak so much better when you have good chewing function! Who doesn’t want a million dollar smile?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children be screened around the age of 7. We will evaluate your child and, if your child needs treatment, we can take corrective action to reduce the severity of a developing problem and possibly avoid costly and uncomfortable treatment later on. Early detection does not always mean early treatment. We pride ourselves on our willingness to follow your children as they grow and develop to determine the most appropriate time to begin orthodontic treatment.
It is important that you examine your child’s mouth as the permanent teeth grow in. Do they line up with the bottom teeth with no spaces or gaps? Are the teeth straight? Are gaps or overlapping (crowding) present? If your child has beautifully straight baby teeth with no gaps, that isn’t so good; be prepared for lots of crowding when the permanent teeth come in. When your child bites down, does the center of the front top teeth line up with the center of the front bottom teeth? Do the upper front teeth (incisors) slightly overlap the lower front teeth, not sticking out like ”buck” teeth and not hitting directly on the tops of or behind the lower front teeth? Do the top front teeth overlap more than 25% of the bottom teeth? Do the teeth come together smoothly, or are there any gaps? If your child’s teeth do not come together smoothly, or if any of your child’s teeth do not line up properly, your child may need orthodontic treatment. Look at the alignment of your child’s jaw. Does your child’s jaw shift off center when they clench their teeth together? Does the contour of their face in profile look normal to you?
If you see any of the above symptoms, or are just not sure, please bring your child in for an orthodontic evaluation.
Interceptive treatment may be done when growth modification is needed for children between the ages of 7 and 9. The goal of interceptive treatment is to correct a specific problem that is interfering with growth and development. Treatment time usually ranges between 9 and 12 months. Examples include: Slow/Rapid Palatal Expansion (to make the upper jaw wider); Space Maintenance Appliance (to hold arch perimeter space); Lip Bumper; “Functional” appliances such as Herbst, Bionator; limited use of braces; and more.
The goal is to correct the alignment of the teeth and the jaws during and after the eruption of all the permanent teeth. Treatment time usually ranges between 15 and 24 months. The most ideal time for treatment is during the adolescent growth spurt (puberty), because some growth modification can be done and most all of the permanent teeth are fully erupted or erupting. In the young person who has moderately crowded teeth, it is very important to start their treatment just as the last four baby teeth are due to be lost (the primary second molars). Sometimes, this can prevent the loss of permanent teeth.
Orthodontics can correct the alignment of the teeth at any age if the bone and gum tissue around the teeth are healthy. Sometimes we need to work with maxillofacial surgeons for correct jaw alignment in adults as growth is not available to help us achieve treatment goals. With adults, we occasionally need to make space for crowns, implants, or bridges when teeth have shifted to poor positions–often the result of early loss of teeth due to decay, gum disease, or trauma. We also treat adults who were treated as adolescents and experienced relapse due to inadequate retainer wear, physiologic shifting of the teeth, or continued genetic growth patterns that persisted after the original treatment was completed.
If conventional braces are the best treatment for your malocclusion and you want to downplay the appearance of them, then perhaps the clear Damon, or all ceramic brackets on your upper front teeth will be what you are looking for. Maybe Invisalign will be an option for you as well.
Perhaps you’ve heard a lot about Invisalign or clear braces and it sounds like something you’d like.
Invisalign or “Invisible Braces” is a series of 3-D, computer generated, clear, removable appliances called aligners. If your malocclusion is appropriate for this type of treatment, you may achieve a beautiful smile without glued on braces. This treatment is not appropriate for growing children, but can be for adolescents with fully erupted teeth.
Orthodontic appliances, either fixed (glued to the teeth) like braces or removable like Invisalign, use steady, gentle pressure over time to move teeth into their proper positions. With braces, the bends and shape we make in the wires we place are what actually move the teeth. We use different size wires during the various stages of treatment to make these movements. The wire puts pressure against the braces that are glued to the teeth just as the series of Invisalign aligners place pressure directly on the crowns of the teeth. With the teeth resting in the jawbone and pressure on one side, the bone on the other side gradually gives way and remodels; this causes the tooth to move. New bone grows behind the tooth. We do this slowly, and that’s why appointments are approximately 3-6 weeks apart. With the Damon system, appointments are between 5 and 10 weeks apart.
No! Many of our patients find us through “word of mouth recommendations” from friends and family members. We appreciate all referrals, whether from your dentist or a friend. If you like our office, we would be thrilled for you to spread the word.
With the Damon System, we no longer use colored ties to hold the wires to the brackets. There are many advantages to the Damon System – please see our Damon page for details. However, if your oral hygiene is absolutely fantastic, we can slip the colored ties underneath the wire so they can be seen. We have a variety of different colors that you can choose from. For our patients that still have the traditional brackets, we use the little tie-rings called “alastiks” or donuts to hold the wires to the braces. They are usually changed at each appointment, so you can choose a different color scheme each month. Some patients decorate themselves according to the holiday season.
We recommend wearing a soft sports mouthguard when participating in contact sports. They are also recommended for sports such as basketball where it is possible take a hit to the mouth from another players elbow. We also encourage them for weight-lifters who tend to clench their teeth while lifting.
Depending on the case, 1 to 2 hours. This depends on if we place just one arch at a time, or put them on both arches (upper and lower braces) at the same appointment.
Everyone has “TMJ”. Mother Nature has given each of us two jaw joints, one of each side of the lower jaw, and they are called the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. What you are describing is TMD or some type of temporomandibular dysfunction. Braces may or may not improve jaw joint problems and more conservative approaches should be tried first.
Many dental plans now include orthodontic treatment; however, most plans only cover a portion of the treatment costs. Please check with your insurance provider before seeking care to determine if orthodontic procedures are covered. Most orthodontists allow you to pay for orthodontic treatment in installments. A down payment is usually required to cover the costs of starting up your case. Once you pay for the initial costs, the orthodontist will usually let you pay for the rest of the treatment in installments. There are also plans that many offices offer such as “Orthodontists Fee Plan” and “PatientFinance.com”, etc. Those are often used when you would like to avoid an initial down payment
No. We firmly believe that the Damon System is superior. With the Damon System, we don’t just align teeth; we create beautiful smiles. Our treatment decisions are based on your individual smile, profile and other factors that will impact what you will look like in your 40s, 50s and beyond. The Damon System is designed to deliver a lifetime of results.
Treatment with the Damon System is typically faster than conventional braces. As an added bonus, far fewer appointments are required during treatment.
With new technology, like the Damon System, we can unravel even severe crowding without permanent tooth extractions. The light force wires combined with the Damon System allow so many more options. Tooth extractions in our office are based on facial features while taking into consideration the long-term impact on your face as you age.
No, they are bonded directly to your teeth. (No shots or drilling!) Most patients experience some discomfort the first 3-5 days after their braces are put on. You can minimize discomfort by using Ibuprophen or Tylenol.
No, you will have wire changes with the Damon System. We don’t tighten your braces. Most patients experience some discomfort the first 1-2 days after an adjustment is made.
Wisdom teeth do not normally interfere with orthodontic treatment. If they are bothering you, we may recommend removal of them prior to orthodontic treatment. In many cases, wisdom teeth can be removed before, during, or after treatment, but they usually do not interfere with orthodontic tooth movement.
Yes, your dentist will see you every six months for regular cleanings and check ups. Some patients are seen more often during orthodontic treatment, depending on the guidance of the dentist and/or orthodontist.
Forever–or as long as you want straight teeth.
You need to call the office if you have a problem with your braces to set up an appointment. We usually have same day emergency visits available and it is our goal to make sure you are comfortable.
In case of an EXTREME EMERGENCY, such as a trauma or injury, please call our office for instructions. We always have an assistant that is on call. Remember, true emergencies are rare.
Wire Poke: Apply wax over the brace or wire that is poking you. Call the office for an appointment to have the wire trimmed.
Broken Bracket: Call the office for an appointment to have it repaired. If you are wearing rubber bands, discontinue wearing them until your braces have been repaired.
Need Rubberbands: Call the office and we will mail some to you, or you can stop by to pick them up.