Orthodontics - Braces
While dentofacial orthopedics involves the modification of growth and development of the jaws, orthodontics is the science of moving teeth. This stage of treatment normally begins when most of the permanent teeth have erupted and jaw growth is nearly complete. Innovations in the field allow us to approach treatment for the majority of cases without removing permanent teeth. Although orthodontics has traditionally been associated with adolescents, advances in technology now make it more comfortable for adults to obtain a perfect smile too. With options such as Invisalign® (invisible braces), clear brackets, and micro metal brackets, we can treat patients of all ages.
Course of Treatment
Braces (brackets and wires) are usually made of stainless steel although clear ceramic brackets are available, as well as Invisalign. Fitting the braces usually requires a 90-minute appointment. Braces remain on the teeth for the entire duration of treatment. Patients are scheduled approximately every 4-8 weeks for adjustments, wire changes, etc.
Orthodontic patients should continue to see their family dentist for regular check-ups during the course of orthodontic treatment.
At the completion of the active part of orthodontic treatment, the braces are removed and retaining appliances (retainers) are fitted to hold the teeth steady in their new position. These appliances may be removable or permanent. Retainers play an important role in orthodontic treatment. If they are not worn according to instructions, the teeth may move back towards their original position.
Some patients are only interested in straightening their front teeth. If their back teeth are okay, aligning the front teeth can be accomplished in a shorter time period. Sometimes this can be achieved in as little as 6-9 months. We have treated many patients who favor this limited approach.