What is Orthodontics?
When describing orthodontics, most people simply refer to braces. Although the majority of orthodontic cases involve braces, there are also other appliances that may be recommended. Following active orthodontic treatment care, retainers are provided to assist in the stability of the orthodontic result.
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 (jaw problems)
- Eliminate the excessive wear on your teeth that can be caused by a poorly aligned bite
- Correcting abnormal tooth alignment can help prevent certain speech problems
- Straight teeth provide a healthier, more attractive smile
- A beautiful smile increases confidence and self-esteem
What is an Orthodontic Evaluation?
Complimentary Consultation Orthodontic treatment with braces begins with an evaluation appointment at no charge. Dr. Sexton will discuss your orthodontic problems and treatment needed to correct them. If you are a good candidate for treatment, Dr. Sexton will recommend facial/oral photographs, special x-rays of the jaw joint, head and teeth, and very important measurements.
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", sucks their thumb, has a noticable tongue thrust, or you are otherwise concerned about the development of your child's teeth, no matter what the age, contact us right away for a consult with Dr. Sexton. 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 about adult treatment options?
Today more than 30% of orthodontic patients are over 18 years old. The major difference between child and adult treatment is that adult bones are no longer growing. This means it may take a little longer for adult's teeth to move into their correct position.
New technology has made the process easier and more effective than ever. Better bonding techniques, lighter, less conspicuous wires, miniaturized or clear appliances have all encouraged adults to seek orthodontic treatment.
Financial arrangements are determined before treatment is initiated. These arrangements are available to meet the needs of the patient.
If you have dental insurance, coverage for your orthodontic treatment should be verified with your employer or insurance carrier. Be aware, however, that most insurance plans don't cover all the costs of orthodontic treatment.
What are Braces?
Braces are retainers, bonded brackets, and arch wires 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.
The Plaque Patrol
Keeping your new braces and appliance clean is more than just a good idea-it can be the difference between a pleasant time with your treatment or a painful time. If food and plaque are allowed to build up around the edges of your appliance, the cheek and gum tissue can become infected and painful.
The best way to remove food and plaque from all surfaces of your appliance and braces, is to use a small toothbrush and toothpaste. You can then floss to clean between your teeth and any areas around and under the appliance and braces. It will be necessary to use floss threaders to guide the floss between your appliance and your teeth, you can reach all areas with a little practice and patience. Follow your brushing and flossing by rinsing with a mouthwash.
The extra time that you spend cleaning your braces and appliance is time well spent. With a clean a mouth, you will be more comfortable and experience better and faster results with your treatment!
Foods To Avoid When Wearing Braces
Care of braces also includes eating foods that will not damage the braces. Broken brackets, bands, or wires not only are costly and time consuming, but slow down the progress of treatment.
Click here for a list of foods to avoid.