When describing orthodontics, most people just refer to braces.
While the majority of orthodontic cases involve braces, there
are alternatives that may be used for younger children or
adults. Arch expanders for younger children
can minimize or eliminate the need for braces when the problem
is treated early enough. Invisible, clear
plastic retainers, instead of braces, can be used by adults
for mild to moderate crowding problems.
What are the Benefits of Orthodontics?
- Reduce the risk of injury - prominent teeth are more prone
- Reduce the risk of decay -
crooked teeth are harder to clean
- Reduce the risk of developing TMJ problems
- Eliminate the excessive wear on
your teeth that can be caused by a poorly aligned bite
- Straight teeth provide a healthier, more attractive smile
- A beautiful smile increases your confidence and self-esteem
What is an Orthodontic Evaluation?
Orthodontic treatment with braces begins with an evaluation
appointment. Your dentist will first visually determine if you are a good candidate
for orthodontic treatment, or if another treatment would be
more appropriate. If you are a good candidate for orthodontic
treatment, Your dentist will take impressions of your teeth, special x-rays of your
jaw joint, head and teeth, and very important measurements
of your teeth and mouth.
is a consulting appointment to discuss the treatment
plan. The treatment plan is based on the records taken
at the evaluation. The consult includes:
- Specific treatment recommendation
- Expected length of treatment
- Expected cost of treatment
When should My Child be Evaluated?
If your child develops an "open
bite", or you are otherwise concerned about the development
of your child's teeth, no matter what the age, contact us
right away for a consultation with Your dentist.
Otherwise, children should be evaluated by the age of 6 for
orthodontic treatment. In the past, a child was 11 or 12 before
brackets were actually placed on the teeth to straighten them.
This may still hold true in most cases, but there are new
techniques that can correct problems early, while a child
is still growing. This may eliminate the need for braces in
the future, or if the child does still need braces, the treatment
will be less complicated, usually shortening the period of
time in braces.
What is an Arch Expander?
Arch Expander is one example of orthodontic treatment
available for younger patients. Many times an arch expander
can be used to create a proper alignment of the arches
so permanent teeth have room to erupt in a natural position.
The use of an arch expander will generally minimize
or eliminate the need for braces when the patient gets
What are Braces?
Braces are retainers, bonded brackets, arch wires
and elastic bands that move crowded or spaced teeth into a
"normal" position for appearance, prevention and function.
Patients with poorly aligned teeth tend to have much more
tooth decay, gum disease and jaw joint problems. Recently
invented brackets and new techniques make orthodontic treatment
faster and more comfortable than ever.
How do Braces work?
Over a period of time, teeth will shift if constant, gentle
pressure is applied. Brackets are bonded to the front surface
of each tooth and wires are attached to the brackets with
elastic bands. The slight tension on the wire is gently transferred
to the bracket through the elastic band.
Are Braces Only for Kids?
Adults are finding that having braces isn't kid stuff anymore.
Many adults are turning to braces to correct problems with
their bite. They recognize the benefits of reduced wear,
reduced incidence of TMJ problems, and
increased self-esteem. Major adjustments must be done with
braces, but some adjustments can actually be done without
The Latest Trend in Orthodontics is No Braces at All!
Adult "invisible braces" (which are
not really braces at all, but clear plastic retainers)
are a new technique for adults to obtain the results
of braces without wearing braces! This technique,
which is effective only for mild to moderate crowding,
utilizes a series of retainers (computer generated
or lab constructed) that are worn sequentially
until the desired correction is achieved.
wearing "invisible braces" in one of these two photos.
Can you tell which one? It's difficult to tell, isn't it?
That's the whole point!
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