More and more adults today are seeking orthodontic treatment to improve their smile. Often times, because adults usually are more compliant in their orthodontic treatment, their results turn out far greater than with a child and/or a teen. Orthodontic treatment is not only designed to improve your smile's appearance, but also, to improve the health of your teeth and gums. If you have crowded or overlapping teeth, you may be unable to reach those areas and run the risk of severe tooth decay, gum and bone loss, irregular wear of tooth enamel and possible TMJ/TMD pain. Recent improvements in traditional braces have resulted in smaller, stronger, more efficient and less conspicuous brackets. Conventional braces with metal brackets are the most familiar; however, clear and tooth-colored ceramic and plastic brackets are now available.
Braces are bonded brackets, archwires and elastic bands that move crowded or spaced teeth into the proper position for appearance and function.
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.
Today's orthodontic treatment is faster, comfortable and more fashionable than ever for children, teens and adults.
When closing a diastema (gap between teeth), differing amounts of movement of the two teeth is often needed. In this application, coil springs are placed to the side of each tooth. An arch wire acts as a guide and keeps the teeth from tipping as the space is closed.
Class I - A malocclusion where the bite is okay and the top teeth line up with the bottom teeth, but the teeth are crooked, crowded or turned.
Class II - A malocclusion where the upper teeth stick out past the lower teeth commonly referred to as an "over bite," "over jet," "deep bite" or "buck teeth."
Class III - A malocclusion where the lower teeth stick out past the upper teeth called an "under bite".
Open Bite and Cross Bite
These are two common problems in children that have their origin in discrepancies between the size of the jaws (top and bottom), or discrepancies between the size of the teeth and the amount of space available.
- A posterior cross bite can appear at an early age, and depending on its cause (malpositioned teeth or misaligned jaws) treatment may be warranted early. It can involve one or both sides of the molar area and in some cases in can cause a "shift" of the bite. Many appliances are available for treating this condition and your dentist will discuss in detail the risks and benefits of treating a posterior cross bite.
- Anterior open bites refer to a condition in which the top and bottom front teeth are not in contact (they do not touch each other when the patient bites). The origins of open bites can be traced to habits that patients have or had in the past, and occasionally to discrepancies between the sizes of the jaws. Since most open bites in children are associated to an existing habit, treatment usually addresses the habit itself and is most effective when done at an early age. Many appliances are available for treating this condition and your dentist will discuss in detail the risks and benefits of treating an open bite in children.
Anterior Cross Bite
Anterior cross bites occur when the upper front teeth are inside of the lower front teeth. Over time, the lower jaw grows into a forward position abnormally, thus inhibiting the growth of the maxilla (roof of the mouth or upper jaw). Once the source of the interference causing the cross bite is eliminated, the appliance guides the maxilla back into position. The front of the appliance is moved outward through the tension of an expansion screw at the base of the unit while the back teeth are used for anchorage.
Posterior Cross Bite
A posterior cross bite can appear at an early age; and depending on its cause (mal-positioned teeth or misaligned jaws,) treatment may be warranted early. It can involve one or both sides of the molar area and in some cases it can cause a "shift" of the bite. Many appliances are available for treating the condition. Your dentist will discuss in detail the risks and benefits of treating a posterior cross bite.
A lower lingual arch is a space maintainer for the lower teeth. It maintains the molars where they are and it does not move them. It keeps the molars from migrating forward and prevents them from blocking off space of teeth that develop later. Used when early loss of baby teeth or when lower teeth are slightly crowded.
A space maintainer is a removable or fixed appliance designed to maintain an existing space. They are usually fitted to children when they have lost baby teeth early. The gap left from losing this tooth needs to be held open for the permanent tooth to erupt in its correct position.
Spring Hawley Retainer
After completing orthodontic therapy, it is not uncommon to still need a little fine tuning of tooth alignment. This is particularly true in patients who have undergone extensive orthodontic therapy and are simply "burned out."
This retainer is useful in correcting minor rotations and crowding. When worn, the spring action of the wires provide a light force to align the teeth. The appliance is constructed to the "ideal" setting and the patient's teeth adapt to their new position.