For most people, a beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontics. After your braces come off, you'll feel more self-confident, but during your treatment, we want you to feel as comfortable as possible.
How Orthodontic Treatment Works:
Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, ceramic, or plastic. They may be removable or they may be brackets bonded to the teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces slowly move teeth to a corrected position. This is a great time to wear braces! Gone are the days when a metal band with a bracket was placed around each tooth. You can choose brackets that are clear, silver, platinum or gold in color. You can choose the color of the ties that hold the wire in brackets. Wires are also less noticeable than they used to be and the latest materials move teeth faster with less discomfort to patients.
Duration of Treatment:
Treatment time typically ranges from one to three years, depending on the growth of the patient's mouth and face and the severity of the problem. Patients grow at different rates and will respond variously to orthodontic treatment, so the time to case completion may differ from the original estimate. The patient's diligent use of any prescribed rubber bands is an important factor in achieving the most efficient treatment. Interceptive, or early treatment procedures, may take as few as three to six months.
It's best for an orthodontist to see a child by the age of 9 although severe cases might need earlier intervention.The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in by that time and crossbites, crowding and other problems can be evaluated.
When treatment starts early, the orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaw and guide incoming permanent teeth. Early treatment can also regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches, gain space for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extractions, reduce likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, correct thumb-sucking, and eliminate abnormal swallowing or speech problems. In other words, early treatment can simplify later treatment.
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age, and adults especially appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile. One of every five patients in orthodontic treatment is over 21. If you have waited until your children were done with treatment, or if you have just waited your whole life for straight teeth, a simple and painless evaluation will let you see just what it will take to improve your smile.
Jaw surgery is more often required for adult orthodontic patients because their jaws are not growing. Adults also may have experienced some breakdown or loss of their teeth and bone that supports the teeth and may require periodontal treatment before, during and/or after orthodontic treatment. Bone loss can also limit the amount and direction of tooth movement that is advisable.
The appointment for beginning your treatment will consist of putting your braces on or placing an initial appliance. The appointment will take between 45 and 90 minutes and you will leave with all the tools and instructions you need. You'll then see us at regular intervals 4 to 8 weeks apart for an adjustment, which takes 20 to 40 minutes.
Please remember the adjustments keep treatment moving toward your goal of a beautiful smile. Missing appointments slows down your treatment and will keep you in braces longer. We love having you as a patient and hope you love being our patient, but we can guarantee that the sooner your braces are off, the happier you will be!
What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?
Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment can occur between the ages of six and ten. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, underbites, or harmful oral habits. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment, because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen.