What is an Orthodontist?
Orthodontists are specialists in moving teeth and aligning jaws. All orthodontic specialists are dentists who have pursued an additional 2-3 years of advanced education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development (dentofacial orthopedics). Only those who successfully complete this formal education may call themselves “orthodontists.” Orthodontists are uniquely qualified in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of orthodontic problems. They dedicate their professional lives to creating healthy, beautiful smiles in children, teens and adults.
Well-aligned teeth are more than attractive: they make it possible to bite, chew and speak effectively. Orthodontic care is often part of a comprehensive oral health plan. Orthodontists use a variety of “appliances,” including braces, clear aligner trays and retainers, to move teeth or hold teeth in their new positions. Because of orthodontists’ advanced education and clinical experience, they have the knowledge and skills necessary to recommend the best kind of appliance to meet each individual patient’s treatment goals.
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What is Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics?
Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics is that special branch of dentistry involving the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The technical term for crooked, crowded or protruding teeth is ”malocclusion” which literally means “bad bite”. The practice of orthodontics (managing tooth movement) and dentofacial orthopedics (guiding facial development) involves the design, application and control of corrective appliances to treat and correct these irregularities. Appliances may included braces, expanders, aligners or other devices deemed necessary by the orthodontist.
Why is Orthodontic Treatment Important?
The primary goal of the orthodontist is to improve oral health. Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to maintain and clean, and poorly maintained teeth can cause tooth decay, eventual tooth loss and gum disease. Crooked and crowded teeth can also cause a malocclusion, which can result in jaw and joint dysfunction and may often be associated with severe pain.
Most often, you feel better when you look better, and a pleasing smile is a vital asset to one’s self-confidence. An individual’s self- esteem will often improve as orthodontic treatment brings teeth, lips and face into harmony with each other.
When Should Orthodontic Treatment Begin?
Generally, orthodontic correction may be done at any age, but the best time to begin treatment depends on the type or severity of the malocclusion. At Chan Orthodontics, Drs. Chan and Chmiel have the training and experience to discuss with you the best age for the most effective treatment with the least time and expense.
Ages 7-10 years is the best time for an initial examination, but may not
necessarily indicate that treatment should begin at this time. Early
examination is recommended because it can uncover existing or potential
conditions that may respond to interceptive orthodontic treatment. This
early, sometimes simple, treatment can often decrease the necessity and
cost of full orthodontic treatment at a later date.
To read more about problems to watch in 7-year-olds CLICK HERE!
To read more about the right time for an orthodontic checkup CLICK HERE!
How Is Treatment Accomplished?
A treatment plan is developed specifically for each individual patient. Appliances used to reposition the teeth will vary depending on the patient’s malocclusion and may include braces bonded directly to the teeth, appliances worn around the head or neck, removable appliances or a combination of these.
Sometimes certain teeth must be removed to provide space for crowded teeth. Occasionally a combination of orthodontics and jaw surgery is required. After the appliances are removed, it is necessary to maintain your new smile and bite by wearing a retainer. The retainer is worn full time in the beginning and then you will transition into wearing it only at night time. The length of time it is to be worn will be determined by Drs. Chan and Chmiel.
What About Adult Orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Although there may be treatment limitations in a non-growing patient, the tissues involved in the movement of teeth respond essentially the same in adults as in children. The health of the teeth and periodontal gums and bone is important in determining the improvement that can be achieved.
Spacing between teeth, protruding front teeth, tipping of teeth into a
space that was not maintained after premature extraction, and teeth that
for any reason have moved into abnormal position all can be improved by
adult orthodontics. Treatment may also be a benefit in preparation for implants, bridges, for dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint, facial pain or
severe headaches that may be associated with a malocclusion.
To read more about problems to watch for in adults CLICK HERE!
How Long Will Treatment Take?
Treatment time will vary depending on growth potential, cooperation, and severity of the malocclusion. In some individuals, teeth respond to treatment more readily than others.
In general, active treatment time ranges from a year to three years; patients with mild problems may require less time. Following active treatment, most patients remain under the supervision of an orthodontist for one or more additional years, wearing retainers to assure that their teeth remain in stable alignment.
For children, treatment may be recommended in two stages. An initial phase during the early years to prevent a problem from developing, to intercept a developing problem and/or to take advantage of facial growth modification. Once all the teeth have finished erupting, a second phase may be necessary to move permanent teeth into their final positions.
For additional information on the benefits of orthodontic treatment, please visit the website of the American Association of Orthodontics at www.aaortho.org.
Ever wonder what precautions we take to protect our patients and our team? We adhere to the American Dental Association’s statement on infection control. Click the link below to find out more: http://www.ada.org/2697.aspx
The world looks brighter from behind a smile.”