A beautiful smile is one of the most obvious benefits of orthodontics. After your orthodontic treatment is complete, you will feel more self-confident.
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 often choose brackets that are clear or metallic, and sometimes 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.
Treatment Time The average time for full orthodontic treatment is usually 8 to 24 months. This varies from patient to patient, depending on such factors as difficulty of the existing problem, age of the patient, certain physiological characteristics of the patient, and probably most important, patient cooperation during treatment. At shepherdorthodontics, our average treatment times are 12 to 18 months.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child first visit an orthodontist by age 7 to advise if orthodontic treatment is required and the best time for that patient to start treatment.
Early treatment can simplify later treatment by allowing your orthodontist to:
- Guide the growth of your child’s jaws and guide incoming permanent teeth.
- Regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches.
- Create more space for crowded teeth.
- Prevent abnormal wear of permanent teeth.
- Prevent the need for future extraction of permanent teeth.
- Correct harmful habits such as thumb sucking.
- Eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems
A few things to look for that may indicate your child needs to see an orthodontist:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth.
- Finger or thumb sucking habits.
- Upper teeth fitting inside of lower teeth (cross bite).
- If your child has a hard time chewing or biting food.
Common reasons for adults to consider orthodontic treatment:
- Bite problems, or malocclusion, causing teeth to not fit together correctly
- Crowding or spacing of the teeth, possibly causing tooth decay or gum disease
- Abnormal pain, or pressure, in the jaw that is often caused by crooked teeth
- To have a healthier and more confident smile
The differences between adult orthodontics and orthodontics for children and teens: The main difference is that children and teens have jawbones that are still developing. For adults, these bones have stopped growing, which may mean the possibility of orthognathic (jaw) surgery, in which the jawbones are surgically aligned. Other differences include:
- Gum or bone loss (periodontal disease)
- Worn or missing teeth
- Incomplete orthodontic treatment as a child or teen
Treatment options for adults: Today’s orthodontic treatment options offer a variety of braces and appliances that are aesthetic, comfortable, and customized to meet your individual needs. Types of braces we offer:
- Ceramic, or clear, braces
- Self-ligating braces
- Traditional metal braces
The period following the removal of the orthodontic bands and brackets is extremely important. Retainers must be worn as prescribed in order to maintain the stability of the finished result. Failure to wear the retainers faithfully invites relapse of the teeth. Retainers that are worn will not be lost or broken. Keep away from pets, children and napkins. These are the most frequent causes for loss or breakage. Teeth shift in position throughout our lives as a normal biological process. It is quite common to observe some crowding of the lower front teeth. For this reason, retention is a lifetime commitment.
Dr. Shepherd offers three types of retainers:
- Hawleys: retainers made with acrylic and a wire in the front.
- Lingual Bonded Retainers: wires are permanently bonded to the inside of either the upper front four teeth and/or the lower front six teeth.
- Clear Retainers: clear, invisalign-type retainer.
Metal Brackets or Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces and are more comfortable today than ever before. Metal braces straighten your teeth using metal brackets and archwires and are made of high-grade stainless steel. With metal braces, you have the option of adding colored elastics around the brackets for a more unique and colorful smile. These colors can be changed at each adjustment appointment.
Clear or Ceramic Brackets
Clear or Ceramic Braces are made of clear materials and are therefore less visible on your teeth than metal braces. Although ceramic brackets have several advantages, they also require special attention and care. In order to maintain their aesthetic appearance these brackets must be kept clean. Any foods that have a tendency to stain, such as mustard tea and coffee, will turn the clear elastics around the brackets yellow over several weeks and therefore should be avoided if possible. Ceramic brackets are more brittle than those made of metal and thus require special attention to the types of foods eaten in order to avoid breakage. Finally, ceramic brackets are much harder than the enamel on teeth. For this reason, it is important that the patient contact the doctor’s office immediately if he or she is biting on a bracket any time during treatment as this may cause significant wear on the patient’s teeth.
The clear alternative to braces. If you’re ready for a smile that transforms your appearance, Invisalign is your answer. Although there are many choices out there, no other works as effortlessly as the Invisalign system. Customized, removable, effective and comfortable are just a few of the benefits of Invisalign.
Not only is Invisalign versatile, helping to correct a broad range of dental and orthodontic issues, but it really works. And there are over a million smiles to back that up. But a confident smile isn’t the only benefit of correcting your dental issues with custom-made Invisalign aligners—your health can be positively impacted as well.
The Invisalign System combines advanced 3-D computer graphics technology with 100-year-old science of orthodontics. Invisalign aligners are designed to move your teeth in small steps to the desired final position prescribed by your orthodontist. Each aligner is precisely calibrated and manufactured to fit your mouth at each stage of the treatment plan. Your first step is to visit our office to determine if Invisalign is right for you. After sending precise treatment instructions, Invisalign uses advanced computer technology to translate these instructions in a sequence of finely calibrated aligners.
How does it work? You wear each set of aligners for about two weeks, removing them only to eat, drink, brush, and floss. As you replace each aligner with the next in the series, your teeth will move — little by little, week by week — until they have straightened to the final position your doctor has prescribed. You’ll visit our practice about once every six weeks to ensure that your treatment is progressing as planned. Total treatment time averages 9-15 months and the average number of aligners worn during treatment is between 18 and 30, but both will vary from case to case.
Temporary Anchorage Device (TAD)
Temporary anchorage devices, or TADs, are small titanium anchors used in certain orthodontic cases to help achieve quicker tooth movement with more efficiency and comfort. TADs may be used in addition to braces or as an alternative to headgear.
How are TADs placed?
A strong anesthetic is used to numb the gum tissue and the jaw surrounding the area the TAD will be placed. Once the area is numb, your doctor will gently place the TAD through the gum tissue and firmly into the jawbone. The placing of a TAD is quick, and may be over before you know it. While your doctor is placing the TAD, you may feel slight pressure; however, within a day, you will no longer be able to feel the TAD. Your TAD is removed once your treatment is complete, or when it is no longer needed to help straighten your teeth. Removal of a TAD is a comfortable procedure that takes just a few minutes.