Your dentist may have discussed with you the benefits of having healthy teeth and proper jaw alignment. Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. This can result in tooth decay, tooth loss, and gum disease. Treatment by an orthodontist can be less costly than the additional care required to treat dental problems arising as a result of orthodontic problems.
Other orthodontic problems can contribute to abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, inefficient chewing function, excessive stress on gum tissue, the bone that supports the teeth, or misalignment of the jaw joints. These can lead to chronic headaches and face or neck pain.
For most people, a beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontics. After your braces come off, you’ll feel more self-confident.
It is best for an orthodontist to see children by age 7 to advise if orthodontic treatment is required. The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by this time and cross bites, crowding, and other problems can be evaluated.
Why do Phase I or Early Intervention treatment?
When treatment is begun early (7-10 years old), 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 in some cases can simplify later treatment. If your child doe not require any early treatment, we generally will schedule periodic free growth checks while the permanent teeth are coming in and the face and jaws continue to grow.
One in every five patients in orthodontic treatment is over the age of 21. Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age, and adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile.
Adults may also have experienced some breakdown of their teeth and bone that supports the teeth. This 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.
Ceramic braces are made of clear materials, therefore less visible on your teeth than metal braces. For this reason, ceramic braces are mainly used on older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns.
Our Damon (clear) braces do not require the clear elastic ties that tend to stain with coffee, cola, and grape juice. This gives them a clear advantage over other bracket types.
One of the most exciting innovations in orthodontics has been the invention of brackets with low friction properties. These brackets are classified as Self Ligating brackets because they have clips or doors that hold the wire in the bracket slot. There are several advantages to these types of brackets including less visits to the orthodontist and in come cases shorter treatment time. This is perfect for our busy parents and children. We offer this type of bracket in clear (shown) and traditional silver. Occasionally a colored chain can be added to these braces to close spaces or keep spaces closed.
There are several types of Self Ligating Braces available to orthodontists. Two of the most popular are called In-Ovation and Damon. Each of these bracket types have properties that we utilize to provide quality and efficient care.
The Damon brackets are a great way to achieve your most beautiful and esthetic smile in less time and with greater comfort than other treatments or even conventional braces. Damon brackets are more comfortable than conventional braces because the brackets are smaller and therefore more comfortable against your lips and cheeks. Because they are smaller, they are also less noticeable. Damon brackets are also ‘self ligating.’ Conventional braces hold the wire into the brackets with individual elastics (colors).This causes tension on the wire that moves your teeth. One problem that arises is that the elastics eventually get loose; therefore you must visit Dr. Johnson every six weeks to change the elastics and create more force. The other problem with conventional braces is that even if we use silver elastics, which are the most esthetic, the elastics still add more ‘metal’ to the look of your smile. The Damon brackets do not need elastics to hold the wire in place; instead, Damon braces use a slide mechanism to hold the wire, which allows teeth to move more freely, quickly and comfortably. This ‘self ligating’ system means that you will not have to come to Dr. Johnson’s office as often and that a more even tension is placed on your teeth throughout your treatment. Office visits are still necessary to change the wire and to make sure that the brackets are clean. Damon braces are designed to be discreet, comfortable and easy to keep clean. Without the elastic ties that can collect plaque, Damon braces make dental hygiene easier during treatment. With the Damon System of braces, treatment time is typically shorter than with conventional braces. And shorter treatment time means fewer appointments and a beautiful smile…faster. You may be surprised at how fast.
Traditional Metal Braces
For those that cannot get away from the allure of the colored bands that hold the wires in place traditional braces may be for you.
Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces and are more comfortable today than ever before. Made of high-grade stainless steel or titanium, metal braces straighten your teeth using metal brackets and arch wires. With metal braces, you have the option of adding colored elastics (rubber bands) for a more unique and colorful smile.
Palatal Expander (RPE)
The palatal expander “expands” (widens) your upper jaw by putting gentle pressure on your upper molars each time an adjustment is made. We will instruct you about when and how to adjust your expander. When you achieve the desired expansion, you will wear the appliance for several months to solidify the expansion and to prevent regression.
Elastics (Rubber Bands)
Wearing elastics (rubber bands) improves the fit of your upper and lower teeth. Wear rubber bands as instructed because the rubber bands work far more efficiently if they are worn as prescribed.
Avansync molar-to-molar (Herbst) Appliance
In the past, headgear was used with patients that had severe overjet. The Herbst Appliance was developed many years ago as an excellent alternative to Headgear.
This Herbst appliance reduces overbite (overjet) by encouraging the lower jaw forward and the upper molars backward. This appliance is used mostly for younger, growing children and is worn for about 9-12 months.
The picture to the right is the new version of the Herbst. It is called the Avansync molar-to-molar. In this appliance the arms are much shorter and more comfortable than the previous versions. This appliance and be worn with braces to help decrease treatment time.
The Forsus is designed to work as an alternative to the Herbst Appliance. It connects to braces and can be an efficient way to correct the bite without the esthetic concerns associated with headgear. It is used to improve the relationship between upper and lower teeth to improve your bite.
The crossbow appliance is a combination of the RPE and the Forsus Appliance. It has a bar on the lower arch that the forsus springs can connects to to encourage the lower jaw forward and push the upper molars backwards. This is mostly used in younger children and is worn for about 7-9 months.
6 Month Braces
Many patients want the front six teeth straightened with braces. This is possible in many cases where the patient has already had braces in the past and have had some minor relapse. Call our office for a free consultation to see if you are a candidate for six months of braces.
6 Months Invisalign
Many Invisalign treatments can be completed in about 6 months. Every case is different and we would have to evaluate your case to determine if you are a candidate for six months of Invisalign
Retainers may be removable or fixed. They hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after your teeth have been straightened. We will instruct you on how to care for your retainer and about the duration of the wear. Wearing your retainer as directed is crucial to prevent regression of your treatment.
Separators are little rubber rings that may be placed between your teeth to push them apart so that orthodontic bands may be placed during your next appointment. The separators will be removed before we place the bands. Separators do not mix well with sticky foods or with toothpicks and floss.