What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontics specializes in making sure that a patient is able to enjoy a full and proper bite. When a patient has a perfectly aligned bite, their teeth fit comfortably together when they bite down. The practice of orthodontics requires professional skill in the design, application and control of corrective appliances, such as braces, to bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment, thus achieving facial balance.
What causes orthodontic problems?
For the most part, malocclusions are passed down from our parents, but some situations can be acquired. Crowding, spacing, extra teeth, and missing teeth are just some examples of passed down traits from our parents that can cause problems that may be addressed. There are other situations where trauma, bad habits like thumb or finger sucking, or even airway obstruction by adenoids and tonsils, or losing baby or adult teeth too early from tooth decay can cause teeth to become poorly aligned. Many of these problems affect not only alignment of the teeth but facial development and appearance as well.
At what age should my child see an orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that your child be evaluated by age 7. This is the age where the first few adult teeth should be appearing in your child’s mouth. An orthodontic screening no later than this enables the orthodontist to detect and evaluate problems that exist, advise the parent on whether treatment will be necessary, and determine the best time for any treatment. Early detection of orthodontic problems is important so that early corrective action can be takes and more difficult treatment later can be avoided.
Can adults have braces?
Age is not a factor in considering orthodontic treatment. Any adult in good general health with healthy gums and good bone support for the teeth is a good candidate for orthodontic treatment.
What are Phase I (Interceptive) and Phase II (Comprehensive) treatments?
Phase I or Interceptive Treatment usually starts about age 7 to 9, when the child has most of his or her baby teeth and a few permanent front incisors. The goal of Phase I treatment is to intercept moderate or severe orthodontic problems early. The goal is to create enough space and arch width to allow the adult teeth that haven’t come in yet enough room to fit when they are ready to erupt. Some cases that need early treatment include skeletal discrepancies, crossbites and severe crowding. Phase I treatment takes advantage of the early growth spurt and turns a difficult orthodontic problem into a more manageable one. This often helps reduce the need for extraction or surgery and delivers better long-term stability. Most Phase I patients require a second phase of treatment in order to achieve an ideal final bite.
Phase II treatment usually occurs when most or all of the primary teeth have been lost and the orthodontist feels it is the right time to begin treatment. This most commonly occurs between the ages of 11 to 13. The goal of Phase II treatment is to achieve an ideal bite of all the permanent teeth.
Does everyone need Phase I treatment?
Not every child needs Phase I treatment. Only some children with certain bites require early intervention. All others can wait until most if not all their permanent teeth erupt. However, it is important that every child be evaluated by age 7 to monitor your child’s progress. If we feel your child won’t need Phase 1 treatment, we would still like to check up on them on average once a year as their primary teeth begin to erupt and their adult teeth start coming in to make sure their teeth are coming in the right order.
WHAT TYPES OF TREATMENT DO WE OFFER?
Our Clear or Traditional Metal braces can help patients achieve a straight, beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. Braces are a reliable and affordable way to completely straighten your teeth. Straightening your teeth with braces makes your smile look amazing and allows every patient to be able to clean their teeth more effectively. At our practice we offer American Orthodontics Radiance brackets that are less noticeable and less likely to attract unwanted attention to your teeth while they are being straightened.
Invisalign treatment is an excellent orthodontic option for patients who are looking for an alternative to traditional braces. Traditional braces use carefully placed wires to straighten a patient’s teeth. Instead of wires or metal, Invisalign uses a series of clear removable aligners to straighten your teeth without metal wires or brackets. The aligners are made through a combination of Dr. Molisani’s expertise and 3-D computer imaging technology. Each aligner is molded to fit directly over your teeth and to gradually push them into a straighter position. You’ll be able to track your progress every time you switch aligners. You wear each set of aligners for about 2 weeks, removing them only to eat, drink, brush, and floss. Invisalign is completely clear and virtually invisible against your natural teeth. You’ll visit Dr. Molisani about once every 8 weeks to ensure that your treatment is progressing as planned. With removable Invisalign clear braces, you’ll be able to enjoy all the foods you love without restriction.