What is Orthodontics?
When describing orthodontics, most people just refer to braces. While the majority of orthodontic cases involve braces, there are alternatives that may be used for younger children or adults. Arch expanders for younger children can minimize or eliminate the need for braces when the problem is treated early enough. Invisible, clear plastic retainers, instead of braces, can be used by adults for mild to moderate crowding problems.
What are the Benefits of Orthodontics?
- Reduce the risk of injury - prominent teeth are more prone to trauma
- Reduce the risk of decay - crooked teeth are harder to clean
- Reduce the risk of developing TMJ problems
- Eliminate the excessive wear on your teeth that can be caused by a poorly aligned bite
- Straight teeth provide a healthier, more attractive smile
- A beautiful smile increases your confidence and self-esteem
What is an Orthodontic Evaluation?
Orthodontic treatment with braces begins with an evaluation appointment. Dr. Wassenaar will first visually determine if you are a good candidate for orthodontic treatment, or if another treatment would be more appropriate. If you are a good candidate for orthodontic treatment, Dr. Wassenaar will take impressions of your teeth, special x-rays of your jaw joint, head and teeth, and very important measurements of your teeth and mouth.Next is a consulting appointment to discuss the treatment plan. The treatment plan is based on the records taken at the evaluation. The consult includes:
- Specific treatment recommendation
- Expected length of treatment
- Expected cost of treatment
When should My Child be Evaluated?
If your child develops an "open bite", or you are otherwise concerned about the development of your child's teeth, no matter what the age, contact us right away for a consultation with Dr. Wassenaar. Otherwise, children should be evaluated by the age of 6 for orthodontic treatment. In the past, a child was 11 or 12 before brackets were actually placed on the teeth to straighten them. This may still hold true in most cases, but there are new techniques that can correct problems early, while a child is still growing. This may eliminate the need for braces in the future, or if the child does still need braces, the treatment will be less complicated, usually shortening the period of time in braces.
What is an Arch Expander?
An Arch Expander is one example of orthodontic treatment available for younger patients. Many times an arch expander can be used to create a proper alignment of the arches so permanent teeth have room to erupt in a natural position. The use of an arch expander will generally minimize or eliminate the need for braces when the patient gets older.What are Braces?
Braces are retainers, bonded brackets, arch wires and elastic bands that move crowded or spaced teeth into a "normal" position for appearance, prevention and function. Patients with poorly aligned teeth tend to have much more tooth decay, gum disease and jaw joint problems. Recently invented brackets and new techniques make orthodontic treatment faster and more comfortable than ever.How do Braces work?
Over a period of time, teeth will shift if constant, gentle pressure is applied. Brackets are bonded to the front surface of each tooth and wires are attached to the brackets with elastic bands. The slight tension on the wire is gently transferred to the bracket through the elastic band.What are Retainers?
Once the teeth have been moved into proper position, a retainer is sometimes used to keep the teeth in place until they have "settled". Retainers can be fixed (bonded to the teeth) or removable.Fixed retainer: Small, thin wire bonded to tongue side of teeth
Adjustable retainer: Snaps into place. Easily adjusted.
"Invisible" retainer: Covers teeth. Virtually invisible when in place.
Are Braces Only for Kids?
Adults are finding that having braces isn't kid stuff anymore. Many adults are turning to braces to correct problems with their bite. They recognize the benefits of reduced wear, reduced incidence of TMJ problems, and increased self-esteem. Major adjustments must be done with braces, but some adjustments can actually be done without braces!