All About Braces
Why You Should Consider BracesMany of our patients come in with preconceived notions about braces. Often, they think of them as uncomfortable and embarrassing. In fact, braces are more comfortable and discrete, than ever before. We offer several forms of treatment, from the Damon system to clear aligners, with a single goal in mind: move your teeth into the ideal position. Braces are not only used for cosmetic reasons, but they can also help you avoid long-term complications associated with your oral health.
The reasons to consider braces vary from patient to patient. Many patients suffer from malocclusion—a misalignment of the teeth between the upper and lower arches. You may know malocclusion as an “overbite” or “underbite.” Malocclusions are classified into three categories using the first molars as a reference point:
As mentioned above, even if you have an ideal bite, you may still suffer from crowding or spacing issues. Crowding occurs when there is not enough room in your arch to accommodate your teeth. This causes the teeth to overlap, rotate, or even erupt in the incorrect position. Crowding can also result from prematurely losing your primary teeth. If a primary tooth is lost too early, the surrounding teeth will begin to compensate for the open space. This leaves little or no room for the permanent tooth to erupt. Crowding can also make it difficult to brush and floss your teeth correctly.
Inversely, spacing issues arise when there is too much space in the arch for your teeth. This can be caused by smaller teeth or a larger jaw. The most common example of a spacing issue is known as a diastema, a space between the upper two front teeth.
When left untreated, misalignments with your bite and teeth can lead to the following conditions:
If you or your child are experiencing any of the above symptoms, contact Amborn Orthodontics to schedule a consultation visit.
Early OrthodonticsThe American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) suggests that all children should receive an orthodontic screening by age seven. In recent years, orthodontic treatment has become increasingly popular with our younger patients. At an early age, the teeth and jaw are still developing, making it easier to address certain conditions.
For instance, we can help permanent teeth erupt into better positions. Many children have arches that are too small to fit all their permanent teeth. The previous solution would have been tooth extraction. Thanks to technological advancements, we can now take advantage of the developing jaw with a device called a palatal expander. By widening the palate, we can transform the upper arch to the proper size. This means there is a much better chance that the permanent teeth will erupt in a proper position. Other intervention appliances, like headgear, can help correct the position of a misaligned jaw. We may also suggest partial braces or space maintainers to help eliminate crowding and assist with the eruption of permanent teeth.
Some children may experience a condition known as hyperdontia, or the presence of extra teeth. This condition can cause many problems down the line if it is not noticed or taken care of early. We can screen young children for this and create a treatment plan as needed.
The majority of our younger patients come in for observation only. We use x-rays and digital scans to identify any potential problems and pinpoint the best time to start treatment. Early orthodontics does not eliminate the need for future treatment, but it can significantly reduce it.
Traditional BracesTraditional braces are what most patients picture when they think about orthodontic treatment. These braces consist of metal brackets that are bonded to the front of the tooth. A thin metal wire is thread through the brackets and held in place by a series of small elastic bands. Today’s braces have smaller brackets and thinner wires than ever before. Patients can also choose the color of their elastic bands, meaning your child can choose festive colors for holidays or personal favorites.
Every four to six weeks, Dr. Amborn will adjust the wire to bring about the desired results. The length of treatment depends on the individual patient but generally, lasts between one and three years. Traditional braces are the most effective treatment for complicated issues like extreme crowding, issues with posterior teeth, and teeth that need to be rotated or moved vertically. If you suffer from these issues, other options like plastic aligners may not even be an option. Braces are also non-removable, eliminating the temptation to leave them out. We recommend traditional braces for children and adolescents who may lack the discipline to use aligners properly.
Although braces are smaller and more comfortable than ever before, there may be some initial pain or discomfort. Discomfort is also common after the wire is tightened, and your teeth slowly continue to shift.
If we decide that traditional braces are the right course of action, there are a few things to keep in mind:
The Damon SystemAt Amborn Orthodontics, we also offer a revolutionary style of the bracket and wire braces known as "the Damon system." The Damon system consists of three components that make it an ideal choice for many patients, especially adults.
Traditional braces use elastic bands that can sometimes cause unwanted friction and pressure. Damon braces are designed with discretion and comfort in mind. We even offer "Damon Clear," which is made to look virtually invisible. Other clear braces have visible metal parts and elastic ties, which can yellow during treatment. Damon Clear is timeless and exempt from discoloration and stains.
The Damon system is ideal for adults with busy schedules. The braces are low maintenance and require, on average, seven fewer office visits than traditional braces. With the Damon system, you could reduce your treatment time by six months! At-home care is also convenient. The lack of elastic bands makes your braces easier to clean. Brush and floss regularly to ensure your teeth stay cavity-free.
Clear AlignersFor patients who want the ultimate in discretion and comfort, we also offer clear aligners. Clear aligners are a popular alternative to traditional braces among many of our adult patients.
Clear aligner treatment begins with preliminary x-rays, photographs, and impressions of the mouth. Then, Dr. Amborn will fabricate a set of clear plastic aligners that are custom fit to slowly move your teeth to the proper position. Each aligner will be worn one after the other in a specific order. The clear aligner process ranges from six to 18 months, depending on the patient’s needs. The aligners trays should be changed every two weeks, with visits to the office every six weeks or so. There is no need for painful adjustments and no required repairs. If an aligner is lost or broken, it can easily be replaced with the next one in your series.
Because clear aligners are removable, there will be no difficulty eating and no issues with trapped food. Clear aligners should be removed when eating or drinking anything but water. Be sure to brush your teeth after each meal to avoid staining. On average, the aligner should be worn for at least 22 hours a day. Clear aligners make it easier for you to keep your teeth clean and free of decay. The discomfort of metal wires is also eliminated.
Clear aligners are the ideal treatment for patients who may feel self-conscious about wearing braces. The success of the aligners largely depends on the patient. If you do not wear your aligners, the treatment will not work. For adolescent patients that may lack self-discipline, but still want discrete treatment, we offer "teen" versions of aligners. Each tray comes with an indicator dot that lets us know the trays are being worn.
After BracesAfter orthodontic treatment, whether it be traditional braces, the Damon system, or clear aligners, the use of a retainer is an important part of maintaining straight teeth. Without a retainer, your teeth will slowly shift out of place, undoing all the work and time you put into your smile.
There are two types of retainers: fixed and removable. Choosing between the two, generally, depends on the individual case and your desired results.
Both types of retainers require periodic maintenance. Be sure to see your regular dentist to make sure your teeth remain free of plaque and tartar. Schedule an appointment with us if your fixed retainer becomes loose. Do not let your teeth slip out of place. Use a retainer to ensure a lifetime of healthy, straight, and beautiful teeth.
Call Amborn Orthodontics TodayIf you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation appointment, call (503) 967-9887 today!