For most people, a beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontics. Other reasons people seek orthodontic care is to improve their bite, prevent further tooth wear, prepare for restorative treatment or even improve the esthetics of the jaw and facial soft tissues. After your braces come off, you’ll feel more self-confident and your teeth will function more efficiently.
How Orthodontic Treatment Works
Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, ceramic, or plastic. They may be removable or they may be brackets bonded to the teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces slowly move teeth to a corrected position. This is a great time to wear braces! Gone are the days when a metal band with a bracket was placed around each tooth. You can choose brackets that are clear or metallic color. You can choose the color of the ties that hold the wire in brackets. Wires are also less noticeable than they used to be and the latest materials move teeth faster with less discomfort to patients.
Duration of Treatment
Treatment time typically ranges from one to three years, depending on the growth of the patient’s mouth and face and the severity of the problem. Patients grow at different rates and will respond variously to orthodontic treatment, so the time to case completion may differ from the original estimate. The patient’s diligent use of any prescribed rubber bands or headgear is an important factor in achieving the most efficient treatment. Interceptive, or early treatment procedures, may take as few as six months.
Seeing an adult in braces is not quite as unusual as it was once before. In fact, 20-25% of patients in braces are over 21. The advancements in esthetics and comfort, with tooth colored braces and clear aligner trays, make getting that beautiful smile you’ve always wanted more appealing now than ever before.
Adult orthodontic treatment is similar to treatment for adolescents, but there are some differences. In adults, growth is complete, so if if there is a skeletal discrepancy of the jaws, surgical repositioning is more often required. Additionally, adults more commonly have planned or existing restorative (crowns, veneers, bridges and implants) and periodontal (gum disease and bone loss) issues. Special attention to timing and coordination between the orthodontist and other dental specialists is critical. In a small number of adults, medications, such as those that treat osteoporosis or osteopenia, can prevent or dramatically slow tooth movement.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. An early examination does not always result in immediate treatment. After evaluating your child, Dr. Baldwin may simply want to monitor your child periodically while the permanent teeth erupt and the jaws and face continue to develop. The initial examination and periodic reevaluation are complimentary appointments!
What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
Early evaluation allows Dr. Baldwin to detect potential orthodontic problems related to jaw growth and eruption of the adult teeth. This allows greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Early interceptive treatment, or phase one therapy, is designed to guide and enhance a child’s natural growth to establish proper jaw size, improve space for the eruption of permanent teeth and improve the position of the upper and lower jaws in relation to one another.
Why is age 7 considered the optimal time for screening?
By the age of 7, the permanent first molars have erupted, establishing the back bite. Children between the ages of 7 and 10 are best suited for early treatment because their growth potential is still at a maximum. Treatment usually lasts 9 to 12 months after which the child is monitored while the remaining permanent teeth erupt. Most children will require a second, more comprehensive, phase of treatment in order to perfect the alignment of all teeth and create a completely stable, functional and aesthetic occlusion.
What are the advantages of early treatment?
- Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
- Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
- Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
- Preserving space for unerupted teeth
- Reducing the need for permanent tooth extractions
- Reducing treatment time with braces
- Improve the eruption pattern of permanent teeth
- Correct harmful oral habits
- Improve esthetics and self-esteem
- Expand the upper jaw to correct a crossbite
- Reduce the likelihood of impacted permane-nt teeth
- Improve some airway and speech problems
Why should malocclusions be treated?
According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems. Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to trauma. Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear.
Two Phase Treatment
Two-phase orthodontic treatment refers to having two separate stages of orthodontic treatment, starting with a first phase of early or interceptive treatment, usually between the ages of 7 to 10. There is a “resting period” after phase one treatment, during which retainers are worn while the remaining permanent teeth erupt. Dr. Baldwin will periodically evaluate your child to determine if or when a second phase of orthodontic may be indicated. Most patients that require phase one treatment usually benefit from a second phase of treatment. Phase two treatment usually occurs at age 12 or 13, when all the permanent teeth have erupted and can be braces or Invisalign finishing the alignment of the teeth and coordination of the jaws.
The purpose of two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional and aesthetic result that will remain stable throughout life. In some cases, two-phase orthodontic treatment can prevent permanent tooth extractions, impacted teeth or jaw surgery.
The most common time for comprehensive orthodontic treatment is between the ages of 11 to 15. By age 12, most if not all of the permanent teeth have erupted and are in place, and crooked teeth, gaps and bite problems can easily be detected. These problems usually do not correct themselves, so this is when most parents decide to seek orthodontic treatment.
Many children in this age range undergo orthodontic treatment, and children are excited to wear braces because they see their friends wearing them. The option to pick the colors for the braces makes it exciting and interactive for all patients who choose to match their braces with their school colors, favorite sports teams and holidays. Alternatively, clear braces and Invisalign is available and becoming increasingly more sought after by our more esthetic conscious teenagers.
Besides the benefits of fitting in with their friends, children at this age are growing rapidly, and orthodontists can usually take advantage of these growth spurts to help shape the bite and teeth correctly. Additionally, children at this age have high metabolisms, which can help shorten overall treatment time and reduce the discomfort of orthodontic treatment.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, one in five orthodontic patients are over the age of 21. Many adults choose to receive orthodontic treatment because they understand the importance of maintaining their oral health and appearance. Redmond Orthodontics offers a full range of treatments specifically designed for adults – leaving you with a dramatically different smile and healthier bite.
Common reasons why adults desire orthodontic treatment:
-A bad bite, or malocclusion, causing teeth to fit together incorrectly
-Crowded or spaced apart teeth, possibly causing tooth decay or gum disease
-Abnormal pain, or pressure, in the jaw that is caused by crooked teeth
-To have a healthier mouth and a more confident smile
The difference between adult orthodontics and braces for children and teens
There are actually not many differences between adult and child orthodontics; however, in children and teens the jawbones are still developing. For adults, these bones have stopped growing, which may mean the possibility of orthognathic surgery, in which the jawbones are surgically aligned. Other differences include:
–Gum or bone loss (periodontal disease) — Adults are more likely than children to experience gum recession or even bone loss due to gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease. Patients with straighter teeth are less likely to get gum disease.
–Worn or missing teeth — Over time, teeth can become worn down and shift into different positions that can only be corrected with orthodontic care. Missing teeth can cause other teeth to shift and tilt creating a bad bite and the possibility of getting gum disease.
-Incomplete orthodontic treatment as a teen — Many adults received some orthodontic treatment as a child or teen, but never completed their treatment or their teeth have become crooked since. As an adult, they choose to complete their orthodontic treatment to achieve the healthy, beautiful smile they always wanted or had before
Adults and children often have different clinical needs and require different levels of care and instruction. Listening to your personal goals and developing a plan around you is our primary goal.
Why should you consider orthodontic treatment?
Straight teeth are healthy teeth — Teeth that are properly aligned are easier to keep clean with flossing and brushing, and may help prevent other health problems.
A beautiful, straight smile builds confidence — Orthodontic treatment can help boost your self-confidence, giving you a better quality of life and the freedom to smile without holding back!
Mouths left untreated can get worse — Not receiving orthodontic treatment when it’s needed can create long-term health issues, and end up costing you more in the end.
To learn more about the benefits of adult orthodontic treatment, please contact Dr. Baldwin and her team to schedule an appointment. We understand you have a busy schedule, and we will work with you to make sure each office visit is as convenient as possible.
Invisalign treatment is a technique that straightens your teeth without braces, using a series of clear, removable aligners that are custom-modeled to fit your teeth. These virtually invisible aligners gradually reposition your teeth with no metal bands or wires and are more comfortable than traditional braces.
Using advanced 3-D computer graphics, Invisalign creates a series of aligners, each of which is precisely calibrated to move your teeth gradually. Each set of aligners is usually worn full time for one to two weeks and should be removed for eating, drinking and brushing.
The Invisalign system has been extremely successful in giving hundreds of thousands of amazing smiles to both teens and adults. Not everyone is a candidate for Invisalign. Please contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Baldwin to see if the Invisalign system is right for you.
At Redmond Orthodontics we are happy to offer iTero digital impression scans. The iTero Scanner is a digital alternative to traditional orthodontic impressions. This digital alternative captures 3D scans of your teeth and bite, allowing us to see, with precision, your dental structure. These digital impressions involve no radiation or goopy impression material. The scanner is like a small intraoral camera taking thousands of pictures a second as we glide the camera wand over the teeth.
While the traditional method of dental impressions is sufficient, it has many drawbacks like inaccuracy and discomfort for the patient. Some benefits of iTero digital impressions over traditional impressions include:
–Accuracy: They capture the exact contours of your teeth and surrounding oral tissues
–Comfort: No messy goop is used, and patients are more at ease without fearing they will gag on the impression material.
–Customization: They provide a precise digital model for fabrication of appliances that are tailored to meet the individual needs and desires of each patient.
–Visualization: Patients can see the digital model of their teeth on the computer screen during and after being scanned. The doctor, then also has the benefit of being able to view manipulate these digital models in all planes of space at any time.
–Innovation: They use the most advanced 3-D video technologies. Scans can be sent immediately electronically to a dental lab or Invisalign for fabrication of appliances.
Corrective jaw surgery (orthognathic surgery) is recommended for adult patients and some teenagers with significant skeletal discrepancies. Jaw surgery treats and corrects abnormalities of the facial bones, mainly severe underbites or overbites. These abnormalities cause difficulty chewing, talking, sleeping and other routine activities. Jaw surgery is done in conjunction with full, comprehensive orthodontic treatment to improve the overall appearance of the facial profile and occlusion.
Dr. Baldwin will determine if orthognathic surgery is the correct treatment option for you and refer you to an oral/maxillofacial surgeon. Braces are usually on the teeth one year prior to the actual surgery and remain in place approximately six to nine months after the surgery.
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.
What is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a specialist who has completed an advanced education program following dental school to learn the special skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial development.
What are some possible benefits of orthodontics?
- A more attractive smile
- Reduce self-consciousness of appearance during critical development years
- Better function of the teeth
- Possible increase in self-confidence
- Increased ability to clean the teeth
- Improved force distribution and wear patterns of the teeth
- Better long-term health of teeth and gums
- Guidance of the teeth and/or jaws into more favorable positions for esthetics and/or function
- Reduced risk of injury to protruded front teeth
- Aid in optimizing other dental treatment
- Elimination of detrimental habits
What are some signs that braces may be needed?
- Upper front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth, or are bucked
- Upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (deep bite)
- Upper front teeth are behind or inside the lower front teeth (underbite)
- The upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together (open bite)
- Crowded or overlapped teeth
- The center of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
- Finger- or thumb-sucking habits which continue after six or seven years old
- Difficulty chewing
- Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
- The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
- Spaces between the teeth
At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?
Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. Many orthodontic problems, however, are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid more complicated and lengthy treatement or even surgery later. The American Association of Orthodontists, therefore, recommends that every child first visit an orthodontist by age 7 or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist, or the child’s physician.
What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?
Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander, headgear or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment can occur between the ages of six and eleven. This treatment is recommended to make more space for developing teeth, to correct crossbites, overbites, and underbites, or harmful oral habits. Phase I is especially helpful in guiding the teeth and jaws of growing children into more favorable positions. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen.
Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a beautiful and healthy smile. Twenty to twenty-five percent of orthodontic patients today are adults.
How does orthodontic treatment work?
Braces use steady gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions.
How long does orthodontic treatment take?
Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from one to three years. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in keeping treatment time on schedule.
Do braces hurt?
The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires you may feel some soreness of your teeth for one to four days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.
Will braces interfere with playing sports?
No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouthguard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouthguards are inexpensive, comfortable, and come in a variety of colors and patterns.
Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace covers can be provided to prevent discomfort.
Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?
Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist every six months for cleanings and dental checkups.