For most people, a beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontics. After your braces come off, you'll feel more self-confident. During your treatment, we want you to feel as comfortable as possible.
Now, there’s another way we can help you boost your confidence and self-esteem! Our orthodontist, Dr. Darren Pakravan, is available to help you improve your smile. An orthodontist is a dentist who has had further specialty training in how to align and straighten teeth and jaws using braces or other techniques.
ABOUT ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT
Orthodontic treatment, often called just “braces,” is used to correct disharmony in the alignment of teeth or jaws, also called malocclusion. Sometimes, even though the teeth appear straight, the upper and lower jaws may not meet properly and the bite may be uneven or it may be difficult to close the lips over protrusive teeth.
Some bite problems can be inherited, such as jaw problems and protrusive, crowded, or irregularly spaced teeth. Some habits, such as thumb- or finger-sucking, or early loss of teeth can also be causes.
The most obvious benefits of orthodontic treatment are the improved self-esteem and increased confidence that come with a great-looking smile, but in many cases people who have had orthodontic treatment have fewer oral health problems than those who haven’t.
How Orthodontic Treatment Can Help
The most common reason people choose to have orthodontic treatment is because their teeth are crowded. Other problems can include upper teeth being too far forward, spacing, lower front teeth ahead of the upper, disharmony of the upper and lower jaw relationship, and front teeth not coming together resulting in difficulty biting into food.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have an orthodontic consultation at age 7. At this age, the first 8-10 permanent teeth have usually erupted into the mouth, and some developing problems may be treated easily or even avoided if recognized early enough.
Most children who have orthodontic treatment don’t start until they reach adolescence, however. In many cases, timing treatment to match the development of the permanent dentition and to take advantage of the adolescent growth spurt is important.
It is becoming more and more common for adults to have orthodontic treatment as well, and achieve the smile they desire. Braces aren’t just for kids anymore!
Braces are the most common type of orthodontic appliance used, and consist mainly of brackets attached to each tooth, and archwires connecting the teeth to each other. Today’s brackets are often smaller and more comfortable than in the past, and can be made almost invisible as well. They are most often made of metal or ceramic, and are bonded to the teeth in the same way modern fillings are.
There are other types appliances that are often used with braces. Some of them are fixed in the mouth while in use, and others are removable. Other appliances such as springs, rubber bands, screw expanders, and sometimes even special surgical procedures are also used along with braces to achieve the goal of aligning and coordinating jaw and tooth position in a way that provides excellent function and looks great!
Some orthodontic appliances are removable, meaning the patient can put them in and take them out when desired. Many of these appliances are used to correct only minor discrepancies. Their main advantage is that the patient is able to clean their teeth easily, but the main drawback is they do not work if not worn correctly.
Invisalign is a system of clear plastic trays designed to move teeth a certain amount for each tray. A mold is made of the patient’s upper and lower dental arches, and a computerized simulation of the teeth is constructed and simulated tooth movements are performed. When the doctor is satisfied with the predicted tooth movements, three-dimensional models of each stage of treatment are constructed, and aligners are made to fit each model.
The biggest benefit to Invisalign treatment is that the aligners are clear and almost impossible to see when someone is wearing them. The drawback, as with other removable appliances, is that it is difficult to achieve as precise and consistent tooth movement as with braces since the aligners aren’t attached to the teeth, and the aligners will not work if not worn correctly. Still, Invisalign can be a great way for certain people to meet their treatment goals.
Retainers are made at the end of orthodontic treatment to hold, or retain, the teeth and jaws in their new position. Initially, retainers should be worn close to full time, but after a period of time they may be worn at night, and eventually perhaps only a few nights each week, as your doctor feels comfortable.
Studies following people from childhood to middle age have demonstrated that even without braces, there is a tendency for teeth to become more crowded with age, even in adults, as our bodies age and mature. Other studies have shown that after orthodontic treatment, some crowding returns when retainers are not used. Many orthodontists recommend using retainers for a lifetime in order to have a lifetime of straight teeth.
If you have any questions about how you can benefit from orthodontic treatment, please ask us. We will be happy to give you the information you need! Call and schedule a free consultation and learn how you or your family can benefit from orthodontic treatment.