Orthodontics is one of our specialties and focuses on irregularities in the jaw, and in tooth alignment. Through diagnosis and treatment, orthodontics guides the natural issues in jaw bones and teeth into optimal results.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children be evaluated by the age of seven for precursor issues in the development of their jaw structure and teeth. Early evaluation and diagnosis can facilitate faster preventive treatment options that will alleviate future problems as children grow older and the facial and jaw bone structures become stronger. This proactive assessment should be done into adolescence and early adulthood as bone growth and wisdom teeth impacting further contribute to poorer alignment.
Although historically children and adolescents were the primary orthodontic patients, improvements in dental technology and treatments have allowed adults to maintain beautiful smiles and dental health far beyond that of past generations. In fact, nearly a third of all orthodontic patients are now adult age, and the options for orthodontic treatments have allowed men and women to enjoy corrective solutions with smaller and less visible implements.
Orthodontic treatment includes:
- Correcting crowded or unevenly-spaced teeth
- Straightening rotated, tilted, or improperly aligned teeth
- Correcting uneven bite issues
- Aligning the how the upper and lower jaws fit together
Orthodontics consists of three types of corrective solutions, each with advantages depending on age,, severity of issues, and personal preference.
The first and most well-known solution is standard orthodontics, or braces. During this process an orthodontist bonds metal or ceramic (clear) brackets to the teeth,which serve as the connective base to guide each tooth into its ideal position. A curved wire (archwire) connects the brackets and represents the eventual position intended for tooth alignment. The wire provides the gentle constant pull on the brackets that encourages each tooth to move towards the position of the wire. As the tooth slowly repositions over time, the bone grows in behind the tooth as it moves. The result is a coordinated repositioning over time and a perfect smile!
The second type of orthodontics is Invisalign. This newer variation of orthodontics is particularly popular with adults, because it is removable and nearly unnoticeable. The Invisalign process involves 3-D imaging of tooth movement, producing a series of aligner trays to be worn in sequence. Each tray is worn for two weeks, and encourages gradual repositioning of teeth into the proper alignment. Once each tray has been used, it is discarded and the next tray used. Since Invisalign is removable, its users can enjoy meals unencumbered, and can brush and floss with ease each day and night. The clear design of invisalign appeals to many over the look of traditional braces.
A final corrective solution is removable orthodontics, which use a retainer-like appliance to create the constant gentle pressure to move the teeth into proper alignment. Often retainers are used to encourage stability of results or to treat less severe orthodontic issues.