THE BENEFITS OF ORTHODONTICS
Orthodontics for Children and Adults
Orthodontics – the application of braces to one’s teeth – is about more than making your teeth straighter. This process improves a person’s self-confidence. Braces aren’t just for children – adults can benefit from them as well.
Contact Oak Ridge Family Dental today to schedule a FREE consultation and learn more about how orthodontics can change your life!
Braces in Orthodontic Treatment
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children receive an orthodontic evaluation by age 7. While orthodontic treatment can be done at any age, timely treatment ensures maximum dental health. If treatment is necessary, we’ll educate you about the best option for you or your child.
Crooked teeth or jaw problems can cause poor cleaning of teeth, which leads to tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss. Untreated orthodontic issues can cause chewing and digestion difficulties, speech impairments, and abnormal wear of tooth surfaces. Prolonged and excessive strain on gum tissue and supporting bones can affect jaw joints and lead to issues such as headaches or face and neck pain.
Recent advancements in orthodontics make wearing braces easier than ever. State-of-the-art appliances and treatments – from traditional metal braces to tooth-colored brackets to NASA-type wires that are heat activated and subject to fewer adjustments are available.
Some patients are eligible for treatment with Invisalign, a revolutionary way to straighten teeth using clear, retainer-type aligners that require no braces or wires.
Reasons to Pursue Orthodontic Treatment
Some compelling reasons for adults and children to pursue orthodontic treatment (braces) include:
Breathing or swallowing problems – mouth breathing can lead to snoring and sleep apnea
Crossbite – one or more upper teeth bites inside the lower teeth (toward the tongue)
Crowding – extra teeth or malpositioned teeth
Deep overbite – the lower front teeth bite into the upper tissue of the upper teeth
Disfiguring of the face and mouth – affects the development of the jaw and position of the teeth
Jaw and jaw joint pain
Missing or extra teeth – due to tooth decay, injuries, or inherited problems
Overjet (protruding upper teeth) – upper teeth that protrude excessively, usually associated with a short lower jaw
Self-image – an attractive smile can boost a person’s self-image and confidence
Spacing issues between teeth – teeth are missing or may be too small or too large
Speech, chewing, or biting problems
Underbite (lower jaw protrusion) – lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw
The Braces Process
Orthodontic treatment involves 3 phases.
During the planning phase, initial visits to the orthodontist may include:
An evaluation of the patient’s medical and dental history
The making of castings or “molds” of your teeth
A computer-generated photo of the head and neck to aid in treatment planning
Photos of your face and mouth
X-rays of the teeth and jaws
With careful planning, your orthodontist will design and apply braces or fabricate custom-made appliances for you.
The active phase involves visiting the orthodontist on a regular basis for adjustments and adhering to specific treatment requirements to ensure positive results.
When treatment is completed, it’s time for the retention phase. This is when the braces and / or appliances are removed and a new appliance – typically a set of retainers – is made. Retainers are removable and help maintain the changes made to your teeth. Retainers must be worn continuously until the teeth and bones are stabilized in their new positions.
Treatment and retention times vary depending on the patient. We’ll work with you to achieve a successful outcome that lasts a lifetime.
Permanent dental work isn’t always an option. There are many types of removable dental appliances for a wide range of products and services.
Removable dental appliances restore and protect your teeth and keep them from shifting out of place. Some removable dental appliances are for solely for cosmetic purposes.
Dental prostheses are removable dental appliances used to replace missing teeth. These appliances are very important because they can cause your remaining teeth to shift and cause bite problems, speech impediments, and bone loss.
There are many types of removable dental appliances for restoring teeth:
Partial dentures replace one or many teeth. Unlike a dental bridge, removable partial dentures can be removed for cleaning.
If you have lost all your teeth, full dentures restore basic mouth functions and slow down bone loss. While full dentures have been around for many years, there have been some marked improvements in recent years. To help keep them in place, removable dentures can be secured with magnets attached to dental implants.
One’s teeth go through a tremendous amount of wear and tear in a lifetime. Teeth are susceptible to erosion, chipping, and breaking. To help protect and correct your teeth, many types of mouth guards are available.
A mouth guard protects teeth during sports activities. Mouth guards cushion your teeth against force, helping prevent broken, knocked-out, or injured teeth. Mouth guards are available over-the-counter. To get a better fit and increased protection, a custom-fitted mouth guard is recommended.
Like a mouth guard, a night guard is a removable dental appliance that covers the surface of your teeth. It’s worn at night to protect against bruxism (teeth grinding), which can wear the teeth down and cause trauma to the jaw.
Night guards like the Silent Nite® device can help prevent snoring. These removable oral appliances reposition the jaw or tongue to open the airway and reduce the soft tissue vibrations that cause snoring. While anti-snoring devices aren’t designed to protect teeth, they are designed to prevent teeth grinding.
Removable orthodontic appliances can give your teeth a break.
Palatal expanders widen the upper jaw by applying gentle pressure to the upper molars each time an adjustment is made. The doctors 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 reinforce the expansion and prevent regression.
Retainers may be fixed or removable. They hold your teeth in their new, correct positions after they have been straightened. The orthodontist will instruct you on how to care for your retainer and how long you’ll wear it. Wearing your retainer as directed is vital to prevent regression of your treatment.