Often habits such as prolonged thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, and certain swallowing or breathing patterns that can open or distort the bite are better dealt with when care is initiated at a younger age. Early treatment is also helpful when the top jaw is too narrow, not developing in harmony with the lower jaw, or if permanent top teeth are behind the lower ones when closing the jaws. Likewise, if a young child’s front teeth protrude excessively or very severe crowding is present a first phase of orthodontic care can be beneficial.
The objectives of early treatment and a first phase of orthodontic care are to influence jaw growth, create more space for crowded teeth, help to correct harmful habits, and improve facial aesthetics. With early treatment the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth as well as the need for extractions of permanent teeth can be lessened. Early treatment can also simplify the next phase of orthodontic care.
In cases where a set of conventional braces is the best approach to care, but a more cosmetic appearance is desired, ceramic braces offer an excellent alternative to metal braces. Ceramic braces, or clear braces, blend in with the natural color of your teeth. While being far less visible, they still function in very much the same way as metal braces to deliver outstanding results of care. An excellent aesthetic choice, ceramic braces can be a bit more fragile than their metal counterparts.
The most common type of braces seen today, remain “metal braces”. Made of high-grade stainless steel these braces are significantly smaller and have a lower profile than their predecessors from years ago. Each brace, which is known as an orthodontic bracket, is individually bonded to the front of each tooth. Metal braces allow for efficient and highly controllable tooth movement.
Invisalign®* is a form of orthodontic treatment that works to correct many different types of malocclusions through the use of a series of clear plastic trays called aligners. In many cases it provides an excellent treatment alternative to traditional orthodontic braces and metal wires.
Invisalign® utilizes 3-D computer imaging technology to correct problematic bites or malocclusions by planning a complete sequence of custom-made clear aligners. This series of clear aligners, each of which is worn for a couple of weeks, incrementally move the teeth into place until the final desired corrections are reached.
The advantage and appeal of Invisalign® appliances is that they are more cosmetic and more comfortable than most other orthodontic appliances. With Invisalign® appliances orthodontic treatment is practically “invisible.”
*Invisalign® is a registered trademark of Align Technology, Inc.
Most problems involving the alignment of your child’s teeth and the growth of their jaws can be identified by the time they are in the first or second grade. That is why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have a check up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. At this visit the orthodontist will carefully examine your child’s bite and assess the alignment and development of the teeth. The orthodontist will also look at the growth and relationships of the jaws, and in particular check for any shifts or dysfunction. It will also be determined if any premature tooth loss, habits, swallowing or breathing patterns are having an effect on your child’s occlusion.
Following this visit the orthodontist will indicate if any immediate preventative or interceptive orthodontic care is needed. In many circumstances no treatment is required right away and the child can be observed until it is the appropriate time for care. Your child’s dental development as well as their prospective facial growth will be carefully considered in outlining the best timetable for care.
Orthodontic treatment for children typically begins between the ages of 9 and 14. At this time they are generally in the mid to late mixed dentition stage. This means they have a mix of permanent front teeth, permanent molars, and some baby teeth. The benefit of placing braces at this stage is that the orthodontist can improve the alignment of permanent front teeth, guide the incoming new adult teeth into position, and utilize the child’s growth and development to best advantage.
Greater than half of all orthodontic patients are teenagers between the ages of 12 to 17 years. At this stage of development most of their permanent teeth, with the exception of the wisdom teeth, have already erupted into place. Any problems with the alignment of the teeth, issues with the bite, as well as discrepancies in jaw relationships are readily detectable at this time, making your teen an excellent candidate for orthodontic care.
The teenage years are typically a time of significant physical and emotional development. In addition to acquiring a more adult appearance, teens are developing a heightened sense of self-awareness, building self-confidence, and investing more in peer relationships. Having teeth that are crooked, gapped, crowded, or protruding can have a negative impact on their self-image as well as their self-esteem. In addition to that, malocclusions can predispose teens to TMJ issues, headaches, and dental disease.
Helping your teen to achieve a well aligned, more pleasing, and healthier smile means making a commitment to orthodontic care. Although orthodontic treatment involves wearing some type of appliances and takes time, the ultimate reward of a beautiful smile is well worth the effort.
The good news is that, thanks to advances in modern orthodontics today’s image conscious teens can choose from a wide selection of braces that are far less bulky, much less noticeable, and more comfortable than ever before.
A generation ago it was extremely unusual to see an adult with braces on their teeth. Today that is no longer the case. Thanks to advances in dental technology, greater access to care, and an increased awareness of the benefits of a beautiful and healthy smile; now over twenty percent of people wearing orthodontic appliances are adults.
With the wide variety of orthodontic treatment options available to adults, the process of wearing braces is more convenient, more comfortable, more efficient and much less conspicuous than ever before. Bulky metal braces are truly a thing of the past. The latest generations of metal appliances are substantially smaller and less unsightly than any of their predecessors. Moreover, an adult interested in orthodontic care can select braces that are hardly visible at all. Today’s tooth -colored ceramic braces, lingual braces or removable clear aligners can all effectively deliver treatment to achieve successful and pleasing outcomes of care.
Although, adult orthodontics requires an investment of time and resources the payoff is well worth it. The value of a healthy and attractive smile is priceless. Thanks to modern orthodontics, having teeth that look good and function well is something that can be enjoyed at any age.
Digital radiography utilizes computer technology and digital sensors for the acquisition, viewing, storage, and sharing of radiographic images. It offers several advantages over the older traditional film based methods of taking x-rays. The most significant of theses advantages is that digital radiography reduces a patient’s exposure to radiation. Other benefits are that images can be viewed instantly after being taken, can be seen simultaneously as needed by multiple practitioners, and can be easily shared with other offices. Digital x-rays are also safer for the environment as they do not require any chemicals or paper to develop.
An electronic pad, known as a sensor is used instead of film to acquire a digital image. After the image is taken, it goes directly into the patient’s file on the computer. Once it is stored on the computer, it can be easily viewed on a screen, shared, or printed out.
If a child’s facial growth and development does not proceed in a normal and harmonious manner, then the jaws may not achieve the proper relationship or alignment. This can present an individual with varying degrees of functional and cosmetic problems. When the jaws are not in the anatomically correct positions it can have a negative effect on the occlusion (the bite), facial symmetry and balance, as well as the temporomandibular joint. Problematic jaw relationships can even make eating, speaking, and normal breathing more difficult.
Orthodontic treatment alone is often insufficient to address all of the issues caused by these improper or disproportionate jaw relationships. Orthognathic surgery, more commonly known as corrective jaw surgery, is sometimes necessary to help address these skeletal and dental irregularities.
Orthognathic surgery involves a team approach with an orthodontist preparing and finalizing the alignment of the teeth along with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to treatment plan and perform the corrective jaw procedures. If needed, other specialists may be involved in treating the patient to address any additional dental or medical issues necessary to achieve the best functional and cosmetic results.
Accelerated orthodontics safely and comfortably speeds up tooth movement for orthodontic patients wearing braces or clear aligners. Clinically proven to move teeth up to 50% faster, the lightweight and portable accelerated orthodontic system can be used without disruption to most daily activities. Guided by the braces, our system accelerates tooth movement to achieve quicker results of care.
As a safe and effective method of promoting quicker smile alignment, accelerated orthodontic technology has also been clinically proven to significantly reduce the discomfort associated with braces as well as the other oral health issues that may result from longer treatment times.
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