Orthodontic treatment can straighten your teeth, correct bite issues, and prevent more serious dental problems from occurring down the road. Our accomplished orthodontist, Wayne Hickory, DMD, offers a range of treatment options for adults, teenagers, and children that can effectively improve the condition of your teeth. Plus, our advanced options can make it possible for you to straighten your teeth in a more discreet and comfortable way. With today’s orthodontic techniques, you may no longer need to go through the hassles and aesthetic discomforts associated with traditional treatment methods.
- Digital Technology
- Why have Early Orthodontic Treatment?
- Why Have Orthodontic Treatment as an Adult?
Please contact Bethesda Dental Specialists for more information on our orthodontic treatments.
Orthodontics for Children
Crooked teeth, issues with overbite, underbite, and crossbite, and other orthodontic problems in children should be addressed as soon as possible. Once your child has turned seven years of age, it’s a good idea to see an orthodontist. At this age, most children have permanent teeth, which can make it easier to diagnose problems or rule out dental issues that may develop later in life. The reason children should see an orthodontist early in life is because the earliest possible treatment can reduce the risk of developing impacted teeth and eventual extraction of permanent teeth, as well as other conditions that may require invasive treatment. Also, at this stage of development, incoming teeth can be guided into a good position, increasing the chance that there will be enough room for the permanent teeth to come in. An early trip to the orthodontist can also help in the detection of subtle problems that may not be apparent at the outset, even if the teeth look straight.
Even if there are no problems, it’s not a bad idea to have the progress of your child’s teeth and jaw-growth monitored to make sure that everything is developing smoothly.
Orthodontics for Teens
Teenagers typically do not want to go through the aesthetic displeasure of having metal braces stuck to their teeth for a long period of time. However, they may need orthodontic treatment to correct severe crowding and spacing in the teeth, or improve bite issues. The good news is that there are a number of options besides metal braces to effectively treat these issues – treatments that are less visible to others, take less time for optimal results, and are even more comfortable to undergo.
Orthodontics for Adults
About 20 percent of patients who have orthodontic treatment are over the age of 21. The fact is, more and more adults are realizing they can improve a number of long-term dental problems with advanced orthodontic treatments. Clear braces, Invisalign®, and other techniques have made it possible to straighten your teeth without everyone knowing. Plus, state-of-the-art treatment options often reduce the total time it takes to achieve significant results, as well as the number of visits to the orthodontist for adjustments and maintenance.
Types of Braces
There are many types of braces available, all with special and unique designs that can help meet your needs. Some of our braces options include:
The most common types of braces are the traditional metal variety. Composed of a high-grade stainless steel, traditional metal braces have undergone a number of transformations over the years, and are no longer as cumbersome and uncomfortable as they once were. In fact, they’re even smaller!
Ceramic braces typically utilize clear brackets that are less visible to others and held together with very thin wires. They give both adult and adolescent patients an aesthetic advantage in that it is not as easy to see them when compared to traditional metal braces.
Damon braces are advanced, self-ligating brackets that do not need elastic ties to hold in the wires. This innovative technology allows the teeth to move into a more desirable position in less time than it takes other orthodontic treatments. Plus, Damon braces usually result in less office visits to make changes or adjustments.
Incognito™ Lingual Braces
Incognito™ braces are not visible to others because they are what’s known as lingual braces – braces that are placed on the back side of the teeth, rather than the front. Previously known as iBraces, Incognito™ braces are customized for each individual patient for the most efficient and effective repositioning of the teeth. With Incognito™, you can not only attain beautiful results, but you can do so without everyone knowing you are undergoing treatment. They can be used in both teenagers and adults and are often an ideal orthodontic treatment for professionals who do not want others to know they are wearing braces.
Invisalign® is an advanced orthodontic technique that can correct misaligned teeth and spacing issues – as well as overbite, underbite, and crossbite problems – using a system of clear, removable plastic aligners.
Learn more about Invisalign®.
Teenagers can take advantage of Invisalign®’s virtually invisible treatment process with Invisalign® Teen. This teeth-straightening technique offers younger patients a way to effectively correct misalignments and bite issues without the worry of being called “metal-mouth” or “brace-face!”
Braces treatment with SureSmile™ technology can give you a more rapid and accurate orthodontic treatment. SureSmile™ makes it possible for Dr. Hickory to create a 3D model of your teeth and perform your treatment in a virtual environment. Then, this data is sent to a computer-driven robot that bends the wires that will go on your braces. This more precise method can significantly reduce treatment time and result in fewer office visits, more comfort, and more accuracy.
Dr. Hickory utilizes the most advanced digital dental technology available to make the most accurate and precise models of your teeth possible. With the OrthoCAD™, we create a 3-D model of your teeth that can be stored electronically for access at anytime. We can use this computer image to make better custom-fittings for braces and other orthodontic treatments, ultimately making the actual treatment more comfortable.
Why have Early Orthodontic Treatment?
First, most children do not need an early phase of orthodontic treatment. However for those that would benefit from early treatment the benefits can be huge. Also it is not obvious to parents, which children have problems that need to be addressed early. This one reason we have always provided complementary consultations. Seven years is the age recommended by the American Association of Orthodontists for an initial orthodontic consultation.
Crowding tends to get worse and teeth can be blocked from proper eruption. If crowding is severe, teeth are not in contact with each other. This gives back teeth the opportunity to drift forward making the crowding worse. Early treatment can expand the size of the dental arches making room for the teeth to be aligned. Sometimes the crowding is severe to the point that teeth do not have room to come in. In these cases the crowding doesn’t really show except on the x-ray view.
We have greatly reduced the need for extraction of permanent teeth. Many parents will recall that a few decades ago, orthodontists didn’t see children until all the permanent teeth were present around age 12. However during that era, orthodontists extracted 2 to 4 premolars in as many as 60% of orthodontic patients. Creating space and preventing space loss early has contributed to our current extraction rate of less than 5% of our patients.
Jaw orthopedics has a limited window of opportunity. The upper and lower jaws grow forward throughout a child’s growth years. The two jaws are not always in coordination with each other leading to overbites, under bites and cross bites, deep bites or open bites. During growth there is an opportunity to change the jaw growth with orthopedic orthodontic appliances like expanders or other plastic appliances that look like retainers. These problems if addressed in adulthood may require jaw surgery.
Treatment efficiency is a major goal. We want total treatment time to be as short as possible without compromising the final result. The popularity of early treatment has in our opinion lead to some over subscription of a valuable service. The final orthodontic work cannot be completed until all the teeth are present. This means that children having an early phase will usually also need a finishing phase. Of course, the finishing phase will have been made easier as a result of the earlier work. The question we ask at the consultation visit is whether the presenting orthodontic problems could be addressed equally well later. If so, we recommend waiting and doing all the work as one phase since that will be more efficient.
A Consultation at age 7 is recommended. Orthodontic problems are very visual. At the consultation visit, the proper course of action is usually obvious, especially with the benefit of a panoramic x-ray showing the development and eruptive paths of the teeth.
Why Have Orthodontic Treatment as an Adult?
Cosmetics. Of course straight teeth look great. Additionally the arch form may be widened creating a broader smile. The relation of the teeth to the lips may also be improved such as to reduce a gummy smile.
Health. A number of studies have shown that straight teeth are associated with healthier gums. Therefore orthodontic treatment can contribute to your periodontal health and the longevity of your teeth. Since cardiovascular health has been linked to periodontal health, orthodontic treatment may even affect your long term general health.
Stability. When teeth are well aligned they tend to be more stable. Many adults seek orthodontic treatment because they notice that their teeth are shifting. When teeth are aligned they lock in their space and are more resistant to the pressure of back teeth drifting forward. The clear Invisalign- type retainers are a good way to manage retention. When the aligner is put in it may not fit perfectly suggesting that the teeth have had some shifting and retainers should be worn more.
What are the Orthodontic Options for Adults?
Schedule a Consultation with Bethesda Dental Specialists
If you would like more information on our orthodontic treatments, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our specialists, please contact us today. We will be happy to answer your questions.