For most of our patients, achieving a healthy, beautiful smile is the reason to receive orthodontic care. If you’re self-conscious about your smile, braces will greatly improve the way you look and feel.
When your treatment is complete, you will have the smile you’ve always dreamed of and the confidence to show it off! Your comfort is paramount throughout your entire orthodontic experience, and our practice is dedicated to perfecting your stunning smile.
How Orthodontic Treatment Works
Orthodontic appliances are 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 the proper position.
You can choose from white or metal brackets. Wires are far less noticeable, and the latest materials are designed to move teeth faster with more comfort.
Duration of Treatment
Treatment time varies and can last between 6 months and 3 years, depending on several factors, including age, tooth misalignment, and severity of jaw problems. If you are involved in your treatment and diligent with oral hygiene, you will experience greater efficientcy in your treatment progress. In some situations, young children might benefit from interceptive or early treatment that results in a quicker treatment times.
Before beginning your orthodontic care, Dr. Arun will discuss all your options and provide an estimate for how long your treatment may take.
Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment
Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process that combines tooth straightening and jaw/face growth modification. The purpose of two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity that a child's growth provides to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, and aesthetic result that will remain stable throughout your life.
What if I put off treatment?
Putting off treatment can result in a need for more invasive treatment later in life that may not completely fix your smile. Early treatment is most effective for achieving lasting results.
The goal of Phase One treatment is to help the jaw develop in a way that will accommodate all the permanent teeth and improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together.
Children often exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper jaw that is growing too much or is too narrow can be recognized at an early age. If children over the age of six are found to have this jaw discrepancy, they are candidates for early orthodontic treatment.
Children benefit tremendously from early-phase treatment. Receiving early treatment may prevent the removal of permanent teeth later in life, or the need for surgical procedures to realign the jaws.
Orthodontic records will be necessary to determine the type of appliances to be used, the duration of treatment time, and the frequency of visits. Records consist of models of the teeth, X-rays, and photographs. During your child’s initial consultation, Dr. Arun will take records to determine if early treatment is necessary.
In this phase, the remaining permanent teeth are left alone as they erupt. Retaining devices may not be recommended if they would interfere with eruption. It is best to allow the existing permanent teeth some freedom of movement. A successful first phase will have created room for permanent teeth to find an eruption path. Otherwise, they may become impacted or severely displaced.
- Monitoring your teeth’s progress
At the end of the first phase of treatment, teeth are not in their final positions. This will be determined and accomplished in the second phase of treatment. Selective removal of certain primary (baby) teeth may be in the best interest of enhancing eruption during this resting phase. Therefore, periodic recall appointments for observation are necessary, usually on a six-month basis.
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. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly. Phase Two usually involves full upper and lower braces.
At the beginning of the first phase, orthodontic records were made and a diagnosis and treatment plan established. Certain types of appliances were used in the first phase to correct and realign the teeth and jaw.
The second phase begins 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.
While there is no exact age for children to begin orthodontic treatment, the American Association of Orthodontists recommends a visit to the orthodontist around age 7. By this age, most children have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth, which makes it easier for the orthodontist to diagnose and correct tooth and jaw problems sooner and without surgery.
Early treatment allows your orthodontist to:
- Correct and guide the growth of your child’s jaw to help the permanent teeth come in straight
- Improve the width of the upper and lower arches
- Create more space for crowded teeth
- Avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions later in life
- Correct thumb sucking and help improve minor speech problems
For parents, it’s not always easy to know if your child may need orthodontic treatment. Here are a few things to look for that may mean your child needs to see an orthodontist.
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- A hard time chewing or biting food
- Mouth breathing
- Finger or thumb sucking
- Crowded, misplaced, blocked teeth or crossbites
- Jaws that pop or make sounds when opening and closing
- Teeth that come together abnormally, or do not come together at all
- Jaws and teeth that are not proportionate to the rest of the face
- Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight
Children between the ages of 7 and 14 are typical candidates for braces because their facial structures are still developing. The amount of time it takes to treat your teen’s smile with braces depends on three key factors:
- Early treatment – Early treatment allows orthodontists to monitor the growth of the jaw and recommend further orthodontic treatment if it becomes necessary. Not everybody receives early orthodontic treatment, and in some cases it may be recommended that a patient wait until later to receive treatment.
- What needs correction – The amount of treatment needed to correct a problem will determine how long the process takes. Different patients react to treatments differently; while it may take one patient only 12 months to complete the treatment, it may take another 24 months. Treatment times can vary, depending on how quickly your body responds and how much work is needed to give you the show-stopping smile you expect.
- You! – Your willingness to use the appliances your orthodontist gives you plays a major role in the length of time it takes to complete your treatment. Always remember to take care of your braces and appliances; this truly will help make your treatment shorter!
Orthodontic treatment is no longer just for teens. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists states that one in 5 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.
Common reasons why adults consider orthodontic treatment
- A bad bite or malocclusion, which causes teeth to fit together incorrectly
- Teeth are crowded or spaced apart, possibly leading to tooth decay or gum disease
- Abnormal jaw pain or pressure caused by crooked teeth
- Desire for a healthier mouth and a more confident smile
For many adults, the thought of having metal braces is enough to discourage them from seeking 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:
The difference between adult orthodontics and orthodontics for children and teens is that the jawbones of younger patients are still developing. For adults, these bones have stopped growing, which may make orthognathic surgery necessary 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 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 different levels of attention and care. We will work with you to ensure you receive the most appropriate treatments, and your needs are met with understanding and respect from us.
Why should you consider orthodontic treatment?
- Straight teeth are healthier 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 that cost you more in the end.