What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics (also referred to as dentofacial orthopedics) is a specialized form of dentistry, focusing on the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.
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.
Who is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has received 2 to 3 years of additional training and experience. Your orthodontist is able to straighten teeth, correct misaligned jaw structure, and improve the function of your smile.
If you want to improve the look and feel of your smile, then any age can be a great age to see the orthodontist. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children first visit an orthodontist around the age of 7; however, orthodontic treatment is not exclusive to children and teens, with about one in every five orthodontic patients being over the age of 21. Whether you’re considering treatment for yourself, or for a child, any time is a good time to visit the orthodontist.
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a very specialized process that encompasses tooth straightening and physical, facial changes. The major advantage of a two-phase treatment is to maximize growth opportunities to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, esthetic result that will remain stable throughout your life. Not all children require 2 phase treatment. Dr. Koblan will determine if a first phase is beneficial for your child. If a first phase is not necessary, than Dr. Koblan will monitor your child and let you know when it is time for full treatment.
First Phase Treatment
The goal of first phase treatment is to help relate the upper and lower jaws to each other and to maximize arch width development. Children often exhibit early signs of jaw problems and significant crowding problems as they grow and develop. If children after age 6 are found to have a jaw discrepancy or have crowding issues, they are candidates for early orthodontic treatment. The type of appliance that is used is dependent upon the problem that exists.
At the end of the first phase of treatment, teeth are not in their final positions. There is often a “resting period” between Phase I and Phase II to allow for loss of baby teeth and eruption of permanent teeth. Selective removal of certain baby teeth may be in the best interest of enhancing eruption during this resting phase. Periodic recall appointments for observation are necessary, usually on a 4-6 month basis.
Second Phase Treatment
The goal of the second phase is to make sure each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue and other teeth. The second phase is initiated when all permanent teeth have erupted, and usually requires braces on all the teeth for an average of 24 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure you retain your beautiful smile.
Orthodontics for Teens
Don’t worry! Braces aren’t nearly as scary as you may think. In fact, braces today come in a variety of styles, materials, and colors, making life with braces much easier, more comfortable, and even more stylish than in the past. Our practice offers a variety of braces, types and styles, to choose from. Some common options include:
- Ceramic braces
- Traditional metal braces
Orthodontic braces are a big part of life for many people your age. While braces may have had a bad reputation in the past, today’s braces make it easy to look good and feel good!
Orthodontic treatment is no longer just for teens. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists states that one in five orthodontic patients is over the age of 21. Many adults are choosing to receive treatment because they understand the importance of maintaining their health, and they want to feel better about their appearance. Adults everywhere are taking advantage of the opportunity to receive orthodontic care, and now you can too.
Common reasons why adults consider orthodontic treatment:
- A bad bite or malocclusion, causing teeth to fit together incorrectly
- Teeth are crowded or spaced apart, possibly causing tooth decay or gum disease
- Abnormal jaw pain, or pressure that is caused by crooked teeth
- Desire for a healthier mouth and a more confident smile
Treatment options for adults
For many adults, the thought of having metal braces is enough to discourage them from receiving treatment. However, today’s orthodontic treatment options offer a variety of braces and appliances that are comfortable, aesthetic, and customized to meet your needs. Types of braces include:
- Clear Ceramic braces
- Traditional metal braces
The difference between adult orthodontics and orthodontics for children and teens:
The main difference to remember when treating adults or children and teens, is that in younger patients the jawbones are still developing. For adults, these bones have stopped growing, which may mean the possibility of orthognathic surgery to align the jawbones. 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 increasing the possibility of gum disease.
- Incomplete orthodontic treatment as a teen — Many adults received some orthodontic treatment as a child or teen, but never completed their treatment. As an adult, they choose to complete their orthodontic treatment to achieve the healthy, beautiful smile they always wanted.
Our practice also recognizes that adults and children have different needs, and require a different level of attention and care. We will work with you to ensure that you receive the most appropriate treatments, and that your needs are met with understanding and respect from us.
If I get braces, how long do I have to wear them?
The amount of time spent in braces can vary depending on the individual patient. Every smile responds differently to treatment. Treatment times can take anywhere between 6 to 30 months; however, most standard treatments take about 18-24 months.
Do braces hurt?
Braces do not often hurt; however, you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple days as your teeth, gums, cheeks, and mouth gets used to your new braces.
Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?
With braces, you should brush your teeth at least three times a day to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between the braces. You should also floss daily to get in between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach. Your orthodontist can show you how to properly brush and floss once your braces are placed.
If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?
Yes! In fact, it’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.
Will my braces interfere with my school activities; like sports, playing an instrument, or singing?
Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your braces, but wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any of your school activities. If you play a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces or appliance.
Once your active tooth movement is complete, you will have custom fitting retainers made. Teeth have very strong memory and always want to move back to where they were prior to treatment. Your retainers will help to hold your teeth in place while they settle into their new correct positions. There are different types of retainers. Dr. Koblan and his Staff will determine the best retention protocol for you after the active tooth movement is completed.
How do I schedule my next appointment?
Simply call our practice! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your next appointment at your convenience. If you are a new patient or have been referred to our practice, please let us know, and we will provide you with all of the information you need.