Why Orthodontics and When?
Orthodontics is a specialty of dentistry that corrects dental and jaw irregularities to promote oral health. Aligned teeth are more resistant to decay and gum disease because they are easier to clean. A balanced bite provides more efficiency for chewing and harmony between the teeth, facial muscles, and jaw joints. Additionally, the improved aesthetics of the teeth, jaws, lips, and face can have positive psychological effects by improving one’s self-esteem.
Orthodontics is appropriate for almost any age. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7 to diagnose the onset of any potential dental and jaw abnormalities. Most patients will start treatment after all the permanent teeth have erupted, but there are many other factors that can determine when the best time to start treatment may be for your child. Orthodontics is not limited to children. One out of five orthodontic patients are adults and the numbers are growing. With treatment options such as Invisalign and clear braces, many more adults are choosing to seek orthodontic treatment to improve their oral health and smile.
Early treatment may be indicated for several reasons (see below) which will create the need for two phases of treatment. Two-phase orthodontic treatment involves staging orthodontic care so that it is performed during two separate times in a child's life. The major advantage of two-phase therapy is the ability to redirect growth and development, expand jaws and align teeth so that a proper foundation is set for the remaining adult teeth. Phase 1 usually occurs between ages 7-9 while phase 2 occurs between ages 11-14.
Phase 1 Orthodontic Treatment need:
• Disproportionate jaw growth
• Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out adult teeth
• Missing or extra teeth
• Large overbites, underbites or openbites
• Protruding (flared) front teeth
• Oral habits (e.g . finger sucking or tongue thrusting)
Phase I Orthodontic Treatment presents the opportunity to:
• Take advantage of a child's active growth and dental development
• Redirect growth and guide development of the jaws, and align existing adult teeth so that a proper foundation is established for the remaining adult teeth
• Improve the bite and therefore function of the teeth and jaws
• Increase the width of the upper and lower jaws to correct a crossbite
• Increase the width of the upper and lower jaws to gain space for the adult teeth
• Lower the risk of accidental trauma to protruding upper front teeth
• Preserve space for adult teeth that may otherwise become impacted
• Guide incoming adult teeth into desirable positions
• Correct harmful oral habits such as finger sucking or tongue thrusting which may cause improper jaw growth and tooth alignment
• Reduce or eliminate the need to extract adult teeth later
• Reduce or eliminate the need for jaw surgery later
• Improve esthetics and self-esteem during the pre-teen and teen years
• Take advantage of better cooperation and patient acceptability before the busy teenage years
Between the ages of 11 and 15 is the most common time for orthodontic treatment – and for good reason. By 12, most if not all of the permanent teeth have erupted and are in place, and crooked teeth, gaps, and bad bites can easily be treated. These problems will hardly ever correct themselves, so this is when most parents decide to seek orthodontic treatment.
For most teens, braces are a right of passage; something they share with other kids their age. Many can hardly wait until they can get their braces on – and that’s good for a number of reasons. While it’s never too late for orthodontic treatment, having braces or Invisalign as a teen lets us take advantage of the natural growth happening during these important developmental years. Their higher metabolism helps us shape the bite and teeth correctly, minimizes discomfort and helps us shorten overall treatment times in many cases.
More and more adults today are seeking orthodontic treatment to improve their smile. Orthodontic treatment is not only designed to improve the appearance of your smile but improve the health of your teeth and gums as well. By seeking orthodontic treatment as an adult you can possibly avoid severe tooth decay, gum and bone loss, and irregular wear of the tooth. Invisalign may be a great option if you are concerned about the impact braces may have on your day to day routine. Invisalign offers an aesthetic treatment modality and allows you to still eat the foods that you love!
For some patients, orthodontics (braces) alone may not be able to correct their bite and corrective jaw surgery (orthonathic surgery) may be indicated. Corrective jaw surgery improves jaw alignment and facial balance and allows the teeth to fit together giving the patient the best outcome for their smile, oral health, and function. Jaw abnormalities can cause difficulty associated with chewing, talking, sleeping and other functions.
The Invisalign Clear Aligner system can offer patients the opportunity to improve their smile with a more discrete method of treatment. Invisalign is clear, removable, and extremely effective when used correctly.
How does Invisalign work?
The Invisalign system is an innovative orthodontic treatment that stimulates and moves your teeth using clear aligners. Custom aligners are manufactured based on a digital scan of your teeth and your bite. Attachments are glued to specific teeth to improve retention of the aligners and to direct tooth movement of certain teeth. Attachments look like small raised bumps on the teeth that are tooth colored. Each aligner should be worn 22 hours a day for 1-2 weeks with regular office visits every 10 to 12 weeks in order to check orthodontic progress. Once treatment is complete you will be given a retainer to maintain your new beautiful smile.
What are the benefits of Invisalign?
One of the most obvious benefits of the Invisalign system is aesthetic. With the Invisalign Clear Aligners, your orthodontic process will be practically invisible to those around you. With this system, patients are able to remove their aligners to brush and floss reducing the risk of any staining after treatment. We suggest that patients make sure to put their aligners on right after they finish eating, brushing, or flossing.
With Invisalign treatment, typically treatment requires fewer appointments than with braces due to a longer time between appointments (10-12 weeks), fewer emergencies (i.e. no broken brackets, pokey wires, etc..), and shorter appointments.
Of course, there will still be soreness with orthodontic treatment as the tooth move, but with Invisalign, there are no brackets or wires to cause irritation adding to your discomfort. This is why Invisalign is the treatment of choice for a number of our adult patients.
Not just for adults, teenagers are choosing Invisalign as well
For many of our teenage patients, Invisalign Teen is the best option to give them the healthy, beautiful smile they have always wanted. If you have a teen that is in need of orthodontic treatment but is afraid of going the traditional route with metal braces, Invisalign may be the solution. Schedule a consult to find out if your teen is a candidate for Invisalign.
These are traditional braces most often seen on children and teenagers. Made of high-grade stainless steel, metal braces straighten your teeth using metal brackets and archwires. With metal braces, you have the option of adding colored elastics (rubber bands) for a more unique and colorful smile.
Ceramic braces are made of clear materials and are therefore less visible on your teeth than metal braces. For this reason, ceramic braces are used mainly on older teenagers and adult patients who have cosmetic concerns. While they are visually less prominent, they do require more attention to oral hygiene as ceramic braces are larger and are more brittle than their metal counterparts. For these reasons, ceramic braces tend to be used more on upper front teeth than on lower teeth.