image00159Invisalign® is a modern alternative to straighten your teeth without wires or metal. Invisalign® involves a series of custom trays designed specifically for you and the plan your dentist or orthodontist creates to move your teeth. The trays are made from a smooth plastic that covers your teeth and gradually moves them into place.

Unlike braces, there are no brackets to tighten. Instead, you use different trays as your teeth move into position. Typically trays are changed every two weeks. Invisalign® is a popular choice for straightening because it involves minimal disturbance to your daily routine or appearance. The trays are difficult to see and most people will have no idea you are wearing them.

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry specializing in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of jaw, face and bite irregularities (malocclusions*). Orthodontic treatment is provided by an oral health care provider known as an orthodontist, who has completed two to three years of additional training beyond dental school.

Recent years have brought about many changes within the dental industry, specifically with regards to orthodontic treatment and care. Now more than ever patients are experiencing fewer incidences of cavities and missing teeth due to the heightened awareness of fluoride use and preventative dentistry. This increasing awareness on the health and look of a patient’s smile has fueled the desire for many to seek out orthodontia not only as a medical necessity, but for cosmetic reasons as well.

Whether it’s traditional braces or custom made removable appliances, orthodontics can help you have the healthy, straight, beautiful smile you’ve been waiting for!

Give us a call today and schedule your orthodontic consultation!

*Malocclusion is the technical term for teeth that don’t fit together correctly. Malocclusions not only affect the teeth, but also the appearance of the face. Most malocclusions are inherited; however some are due to acquired habits such as thumb sucking and tongue thrusting. The spacing left from an adult tooth being extracted or an early loss of a baby tooth can also contribute to a malocclusion.

If you have considered straightening your teeth, contact us today to learn more about Invisalign® and how it can benefit you.

Invisalign / Orthodontics

Invisalign®

One of the primary concerns people often have about dental braces is the aesthetic impact of the metalwork on their smile. Especially for adults, the prospect of wearing unattractive metal braces for long periods of time can be very discouraging. Invisalign® offers an almost invisible aligning system that straightens teeth fast and contains no metal.

Invisalign® treatment consists of a series of custom-made aligning trays. The dentist changes the trays every several weeks to fit the new tooth configuration. In addition to the reduced visual impact, Invisalign® aligning trays can be temporarily removed for important occasions – meaning that treatment duration is patient-controlled. A great number of people report complete satisfaction with both the Invisalign® treatment and the stunning results.

WHAT KIND OF BITE PROBLEMS CAN INVISALIGN® CORRECT?
Invisalign® corrects the same dental problems as traditional metal braces; the only difference is that Invisalign® trays are almost invisible to the naked eye, and can be removed at will.

Here are some problems that are commonly corrected with Invisalign®:

  • Overcrowding – This occurs when there is too little space for the teeth to align normally in the mouth. Overcrowding can cause tooth decay and increase the likelihood of gum disease.
  • Large gaps between teeth – This can sometimes occur because teeth are missing or because the jaw continues to grow abnormally.
  • Crossbite – This common dental problem occurs when one or multiple upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth. As a consequence, uneven wear can lead to bone erosion and gum disease.
  • Overbite – This problem occurs when the upper teeth project further than, or completely cover, the lower teeth. Eventually, jaw pain and TMJ may occur.
  • Underbite – This is the inverse of the overbite; the lower teeth project further than, or completely cover, the upper teeth. Eventually, jaw pain and TMJ can occur.

WHAT ADVANTAGES DOES INVISALIGN® OFFER OVER TRADITIONAL BRACES AND VENEERS?
Traditional dental braces, Invisalign® aligning trays, and dental veneers are three different ways to perfect the alignment of the teeth. There are many different considerations to make when deciding which treatment will be best, and each of these options works better in certain situations.

Invisalign® differs from traditional braces in that the aligning trays are fully removable. This means that more discipline and commitment is required from the patient. This is not usually a problem since the trays are comfortable and nearly invisible. Almost identical results can be obtained by using either treatment.

Invisalign® is preferable to veneers in many cases because unlike veneers, Invisalign® actually straightens the teeth. Veneers are thin covers that the dentist permanently affixes to the teeth. Teeth must be etched beforehand, meaning that to remove dental veneers, an alternative covering must be constructed. In addition to being somewhat expensive, veneers can break and often last for less than 20 years.

WHAT DOES INVISALIGN® TREATMENT INVOLVE?
First, the dentist needs to devise an initial treatment plan before creating the special aligning trays. Three-dimensional digital images are taken of the entire jaw using a specialized scanner called iTero. The digital image created is more accurate than the traditional “rubber impression” that other dentists may use. We are also able to send the images instantly to the Invisalign facility for processing. This results in a more accurate fit of the aligners as well as a much faster time to process your case for treatment. These images allow the us to move specific teeth on the screen, view the jaw from different angles, and also foresee what the face might look like in years to come. In essence, this technology can show how Invisalign® trays will change the facial aesthetics.

Once planning is complete, a unique set of aligners is made. The total amount of aligners required varies with each individual case, but 20-29 sets per arch is typical.

WHAT ARE SOME CONSIDERATIONS WHEN WEARING INVISALIGN® TRAYS?
Life with Invisalign® aligning trays may take several weeks to get used to. The trays should be worn constantly, except when eating and drinking. It is important to remove the trays when consuming food or drink because food can become trapped between the tray and the teeth, causing tooth decay.

Usually, new trays are necessary every two weeks, and progress between appointments can be seen with the naked eye. There is no doubt that Invisalign® aligning trays have revolutionized orthodontics. Invisalign® is renowned for being both comfortable and effective.

If you have questions about Invisalign®, please contact our office.

What is a Malocclusion?

A malocclusion is an incorrect relationship between the maxilla (upper arch) and the mandible (lower arch), or a general misalignment of the teeth. Malocclusions are so common that most individuals experience one, to some degree. The poor alignment of the teeth is thought to be a result of genetic factors combined with poor oral habits, or other factors in the early years.

Moderate malocclusion commonly requires treatment by an orthodontist. Orthodontists are dentists who specialize in the treatment of malocclusions and other facial irregularities.

The following are three main classifications of malocclusion:

Class I – The occlusion is typical, but there are spacing or overcrowding problems with the other teeth.

Class II – The malocclusion is an overbite (the upper teeth are positioned further forward than the lower teeth). This can be caused by the protrusion of anterior teeth or the overlapping of the central teeth by the lateral teeth.

Class III – Prognathism (also known as “underbite”) is a malocclusion caused by the lower teeth being positioned further forward than the upper teeth. An underbite usually occurs when the jawbone is large or the maxillary bone is short.

REASONS FOR TREATING A MALOCCLUSION
A severe malocclusion may lead to skeletal disharmony of the lower face. In a more extreme case, the orthodontist may work in combination with a maxillofacial dentist to reconstruct the jaw. It is never too late to seek treatment for a malocclusion. Children and adults alike have completed orthodontic realignment procedures and have been delighted with the resulting even, straight smile.

Here are some of the main reasons to seek orthodontic treatment for a malocclusion:

  • Reduced risk of tooth decay – A malocclusion often causes an uneven wear pattern on the teeth. The constant wearing of the same teeth can lead to tooth erosion and decay.
  • Better oral hygiene – A malocclusion can be caused by overcrowding. When too many teeth are competing for too little space, it can be difficult to clean the teeth and gums effectively. It is much easier to clean straight teeth that are properly aligned.
  • Reduced risk of TMJ – Temporomandibular jaw syndrome (TMJ) is thought to be caused by a malocclusion. Headaches, facial pains and grinding teeth during sleep all result from the excessive pressure to the temporomandibular joint. Realigning the teeth reduces pressure, and eliminates these symptoms.

HOW IS A MALOCCLUSION TREATED?
A malocclusion is usually treated with dental braces. The orthodontist takes panoramic X-rays, conducts visual examinations, and takes bite impressions of the whole mouth before deciding on the best course of treatment. If a malocclusion is obviously caused by overcrowding, the orthodontist may decide an extraction is the only way to create enough space for the realignment. However, in the case of an underbite, crossbite or overbite, there are several different orthodontic appliances available, such as:

  • Fixed multibracket braces – This type of dental braces consists of brackets cemented to each tooth, and an archwire that connects each one. The orthodontist adjusts or changes the wire on a regular basis to train the teeth into proper alignment.
  • Removable devices – There are many non-fixed dental braces available to treat a malocclusion. Retainers, headgear and palate expanders are amongst the most common. Retainers are generally used to hold the teeth in the correct position while the jawbone grows properly around them.
  • Invisalign® – These dental aligners are removable and invisible to the naked eye. Invisalign® works similarly to fixed dental braces but does not impact the aesthetics of the smile.

If you have any questions about malocclusions, please contact our office.

Who Can Benefit From Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that is concerned with diagnosing, treating and preventing malocclusions (bad bites) and other irregularities in the jaw region and face. Orthodontists are specially trained to correct these problems and to restore health, functionality and a beautiful aesthetic appearance to the smile. Though orthodontics was originally aimed at treating children and teenagers, almost one third of orthodontic patients are now adults. A person of any age can be successfully treated by an orthodontist.

A malocclusion (improper bite) can affect anyone at any age, and can significantly impact the individual’s clarity of speech, chewing ability and facial symmetry. In addition, a severe malocclusion can also contribute to several serious dental and physical conditions such as digestive difficulties, TMJ, periodontal disease and severe tooth decay. It is important to seek orthodontic treatment early to avoid expensive restorative procedures in the future.

WHAT PROBLEMS CAN ORTHODONTICS TREAT?
Orthodontics can treat a wide range of dental problems and in most cases, completely realign the teeth. Orthodontists may work alone, or in combination with a maxillofacial surgeon.

The typical irregularities requiring orthodontic treatment are as follows:

  • Overcrowding – An overcrowded mouth means there is insufficient space within the jaw for all of the adult teeth to fit naturally. Overcrowding may lead to displaced, rotated or completely misaligned teeth.
  • Overbite – An overbite refers to the protrusion of the maxilla (upper jaw) relative to the mandible (lower jaw). An overbite gives the smile a “toothy” appearance and the chin looks like it has receded.
  • Underbite – An underbite, also known as a negative underjet, refers to the protrusion of the mandible (lower jaw) in relation to the maxilla (upper jaw). An underbite makes the chin look overly prominent. Developmental delays and genetic factors generally cause underbites and overbites.

HOW CAN ORTHODONTICS HELP?
Orthodontic dentistry offers techniques which will realign the teeth and revitalize the smile. There are several treatments the orthodontist may use, depending on the results of panoramic X-rays, study models (bite impressions), and a thorough visual examination.

Fixed dental braces can be used to expediently correct even the most severe case of misalignment. These braces consist of metal or ceramic brackets which are affixed to each tooth and an archwire which is used to gradually move the teeth through the duration of the treatment.

Removable appliances include headgear (which consists of a metal wire device attached to customized braces), retainers, Invisalign® aligners (which are almost invisible to the naked eye), palate expanders and tooth movers. Faceguards are generally used to correct developmental delays in both the upper and lower jaw, and palate expanders are used to combat overcrowding.

Whatever the dental irregularity or the age of the individual, orthodontic appliances can properly realign the teeth and create a beautiful smile.

If you have any questions or concerns about orthodontic treatments or how they can benefit you, please contact our office.

Why Straighten Teeth?

Straighter teeth perform chewing, biting and speaking functions more effectively than crooked teeth. In addition, a straight smile boosts confidence is aesthetically pleasing to look at, and can help stave off a wide variety of dental ailments.

There are several types of malocclusion including overbite, underbite, crossbite, and overcrowding. Each of these alignment problems negatively impacts the functionality and cosmetic appearance of the teeth.

Here is a brief overview of some of the main disorders associated with crooked teeth:

Periodontitis – Periodontitis or gum disease begins with a bacterial infection. The bacterial infection is caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Crooked teeth are hard to clean effectively, which means that debris, plaque, and bacteria can build up in hard-to-reach areas. Straight teeth are much easier to clean and are at less risk of contracting gum disease.

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMJ) – Crooked teeth can lead to improper jaw alignment, which in turn causes a painful condition known as TMJ. Severe headaches, jaw pain, lockjaw and the grinding of teeth characterize this debilitating disorder.

Tooth injury – Straight teeth creates a strong wall, which means injuries are less likely to occur. Crooked teeth are weaker and often protrude, making them far more vulnerable to external injury.

Uneven wear – Crooked teeth cause some of the teeth to work harder than others when biting and chewing. Straight teeth share the workload evenly, meaning less risk of injury and better aesthetics.

Teeth can be straightened using either orthodontic braces or customized aligning trays. Orthodontic braces are usually affixed to the teeth for a set duration. The brackets and archwires are tightened regularly by the orthodontist and removed when treatment is complete. Fixed braces can be placed on the front side or back side of the teeth and are effective for most types of malocclusion.

Aligning trays are fully removable and are used where the malocclusion is less severe, and the teeth need to move a shorter distance. These trays are replaced every few weeks for the duration of the treatment and have proven to be equally effective for straightening teeth.

If you have questions about orthodontics and straightening teeth, please ask your orthodontist.