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Orthodontics



Braces and orthodontic treatments are used to correct teeth that are crowded or crooked, also known as malocclusion. Jaw and tooth alignment problems can be inherited or a result of an injury, early or late tooth loss, or thumbsucking. Braces and other orthodontic treatments are not just used to create a nice looking smile, but treatment results in a healthier mouth. Not correcting an abnormal bite could result in oral health problems including:


  •     Tooth decay
  •     Gum disease
  •     Tooth loss
  •     Affected speech and/or chewing
  •     Abnormal wear to tooth enamel
  •     Jaw problems

Are you a Candidate for Orthodontic Treatment? 

If you have any of the following, you may be a candidate for orthodontic treatment:
Overbite, “buck teeth”- The upper front teeth lie too far forward over the lower teeth
Underbite- The lower teeth are too far forward or the upper teeth are too far back
Crossbite- The upper teeth do not come slightly in front of the lower teeth when biting together normally.
Open Bite- Space between the biting surfaces of the front and/or side teeth when the back teeth bite together.
Misplaced Midline- The center of your upper front teeth does not line up with the center of your lower front teeth.
Spacing- Gaps or spaces between the teeth as a result of missing teeth or teeth that do not “fill up” the mouth.
Crowding- There are too many teeth for the dental ridge to accommodate.


Fixed Appliances vs Removable Appliances 

Orthodontics use may different type of appliances to help move teeth, retain muscles and help the growth of the jaw. Depending on the severity of the problem, determines which appliances are used.

Fixed Appliances:
Braces- The most common fixed appliance. Consists of bands, wires and/or brackets. Bands are fixed around the teeth and used as anchors for the appliance, while brackets are most often bonded to the front of the teeth. Arch wires are passed through the brackets and attached to the bands. Tightening the arch wire puts tension on the teeth, gradually moving them into the proper position.
Special Fixed Appliances- Used to control thumbsucking or tongue thrusting. These appliances are attached to the teeth by bands. Because they are uncomfortable during meals, they should only be used as a last resort.
Fixed Space Maintainers- If a baby tooth is lost too early, a space maintainer is used to keep the space open until the permanent tooth grows. A band is attached to the tooth next to the empty space and a wire is extended to the tooth on the other side of the space.

Removable Appliances:
Aligners- An alternative to traditional braces for adults. These are used to move teeth in the same way that fixed appliances work, only without metal wires and brackets. Aligners are invisible and are removed for eating, brushing and flossing.
Removable space Maintainers- These appliances function the same as the fixed space maintainers. These are made with an acrylic base that fits over the jaw and have plastic or wire branches between specific teeth to keep the space between them open.
 Jaw Repositioning Appliances- Also called splints, these appliances are worn on either the top or lower jaw and help to train the jaw to close in a more favorable position.
Lip and Cheek Bumpers- Designed to keep the lips and cheeks away from the teeth.
Palatal Expander- Used to widen the arch of the upper jaw. It’s a plastic plate that fits over the roof of the mouth. Outward pressure appliance to the plate by screws force the joints in the bones of the palate to open lengthwise, widening the palatal area.
Removable Retainers- Worn on the roof of the mouth, these appliances prevent shifting of the teeth to their previous position.
Headgear- a strap is placed around the back of the head and attached to a metal wire in front. Headgear slows the growth of the upper jaw and it holds the back teeth where they are while the front teeth are pulled back.

Types of Braces

Metal Braces/Traditional: Metal brackets and wires used to move the teeth into the desired position. Modern day braces are now, smaller and less noticeable. Also, new heat-activated arch wires use your body heat to help your teeth move more quickly and less painfully than in the past.
Ceramic Braces: Are the same size and shape as metal braces, except they have tooth-colored or clear brackets that blend in to the teeth.
Lingual Braces: Are the same as traditional metal braces, except that the brackets and wires are placed on the inside of the teeth.
Invisalign: Consists of a series of 18 to 30 custom made, mouth guard like plastic aligners. The aligners are removable and are replaced every 2 weeks.

Cost of Treatment 

Generally, dental insurance providers do not pay for orthodontic treatment for people over the age of 18, but do partially cover children under the age of 18. You can also buy supplemental orthodontic insurance. Ranges of cost typically vary:
   
    Metal Braces: $3,000-$7,000
    Ceramic Braces: $4,000-$8,000
    Lingual Braces: $8,000-$10,000
    Invisalign: $4,000-$7,000

Plan Ahead 

An early checkup with an orthodontist will help you to know what is coming so you can budget in advance. Orthodontists suggest that by age 7, a child be seen to determine if braces or another orthodontic treatment will be necessary in the future.

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