An orthodontic problem is called a malocclusion, meaning "bad bite." Some examples of causes of malocclusion are crowded teeth, extra teeth, missing teeth or jaws that are out of alignment. Many malocclusions are inherited, although some can be acquired. Acquired malocclusions can be caused by accidents, early or late loss of baby teeth, or sucking of the thumb or fingers for a prolonged period of time.
Children and adults can both benefit from orthodontics. It is recommended that every child receive an orthodontic evaluation by age seven. Early treatment can make later treatments when all the adult teeth are present quicker and easier or even eliminated it all together. Treatment may take a little longer for adults. Because an adult's facial bones are no longer growing, certain corrections may take longer. The average treatment time is about 24 months and varies with individual patients. Usually, adult treatment takes a little longer than a child's treatment. Some of the techniques Dr. Johnson is trained in include Invisalign, Advanced Lightwire Functional (ALF), and Damon Brackets.
What Makes the Damon System Different?
- Passive self-ligating braces that are much more gentle to the teeth.
- High-technology wires that move teeth much faster and require far fewer adjustments.
- A new clinically proven treatment approach that aligns the teeth and enhances facial aesthetics usually without extractions.
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Are all braces the same?
With the Damon System, we dont just align the teeth. We create beautiful smiles accounting for a patients face, profile and other factors in anticipating what they will look like in their 40s, 50s and beyond to deliver results for a lifetime.
How long does treatment take?
Depending on your case, treatment time with the Damon System is up to 50% faster than with conventional braces. Another benefit far fewer appointments are required during treatment.
Clinically Proven Advantages
- Significantly better results
- Significantly shorter treatment times
- Far fewer adjustments required
Since the Damon System works so quickly, does that mean it is harsh or unsafe?
No. In fact, what makes the Damon System work so quickly is that it uses far gentler, more biologically sensible forces than conventional braces. The low-friction nature of the system assures improved tooth position and improved facial harmony.
Will my teeth hurt after adjustments?
Very light shape memory titanium wires are used that gently guide your teeth to their ideal position. Many people experience very little discomfort.
Arent braces big and bulky?
Not any more! Braces are much smaller than they were just a few years ago, and new materials are now used that make them very discreet.
What about adult treatment?
No problem. Adults can be treated quickly, easily, and most importantly, to a high-quality result.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign is the invisible way to straighten your teeth without traditional braces and brackets.
Invisalign uses a series of clear removable aligners (pictured to the left) to straighten your teeth without metal wires or brackets.
Invisalign has been proven effective in clinical research and in orthodontic practices nationwide. In fact, over 70% of all U.S. orthodontists are certified to treat patients with Invisalign.
How Does Invisalign Work?
You wear each set of aligners for about 2 weeks, removing them only to eat, drink, brush, and floss.
As you replace each aligner with the next in the series, your teeth will move - little by little, week by week - until they have straightened to the final position your orthodontist or dentist has prescribed.
You'll visit your orthodontist or dentist about once every 6 weeks to ensure that your treatment is progressing as planned.
Total treatment time averages 9-15 months and the average number of aligners worn during treatment is between 18 and 30, but both will vary from case to case.
Another advantage to Invisalign is that you can whiten or bleach your teeth as they are straightened.
What's a Retainer?
A retainer is a piece of plastic and metal that is custom-made for each individual kid who needs one. It fits the top of the teeth and mouth. No two retainers are alike, even though many look similar. Retainers are really common. In fact, most people (kids and adults) who have braces have to wear a retainer for at least a little while after getting their braces taken off. Other people wear them to close gaps in their teeth, to help with speech problems, or to solve certain medical problems.
Why Do I Need to Wear a Retainer?
There are different reasons why you might need a retainer. The most common reason is to help your teeth stay set in their new positions after wearing braces It's important to wear your retainer because as your body grows and ages, your teeth do some shifting. The retainer helps to control this shifting, which occurs naturally.
After your braces are removed, your orthodontist or dentist will fit you for a retainer. He or she will tell you how long to wear it and when. For example, you might have to wear it all day for 3 months but then only at night after the 3 months is up. Some kids may wear their retainer only at night right from the start, but they may have to wear it for more than a year. After final treatment one can expect to wear a nighttime retainer for life.The retainer keeps the teeth in line and you won't even notice it while you're sleeping!
Teeth Gringing & Clenching
Do you clench or grind your teeth?
Approximately 44 million Americans suffer from chronic teeth grinding and clenching, a condition called bruxism, which often results in tooth damage. Many people are unaware that they are grinding their teeth because it most often happens while they sleep. They may wake with a headache, toothache, earache or sore muscles of the jaw and head region. But often, the condition goes undetected until the affected individual is alerted by a family member or by a dentist who notices symptoms..
What is Bruxism?
Bruxism affects men, women and children and can develop at any age. Three out of 10 kids grind or clench their teeth usually before the age of 5. Although the exact causes of bruxism are not well documented, several factors are involved. With children, the condition can be a response to jaw growth, losing or getting new teeth, ailments such as allergies or ear infections, malocclusion or airway obstruction. In children as well as adults, stress often contributes to bruxism. Other factors include sleeping problems, an abnormal bite or a collapsed bite and airway due to missing teeth.
Effects of Bruxism:
In rare cases, bruxism does not cause any damage. But if the grinding is severe and frequent, it can result in worn down tooth enamel, chipped teeth, abractions (pictured above), increase in temperature sensitivity, erosion of gums and supporting bones, breakage of fillings or other dental work, TMJ dysfunction, and muscle tension in the face, head and shoulder regions. All of which have a negative impact on the appearance of the patients smile.
Diagnosis and treatment:
At Contemporary Family Dentistry, one of our areas of expertise is in the diagnosis and treatment of bruxism. Regular dental checkups are important to detect damage in the early stages. We can diagnose and treat irregular wear on teeth and determine the source of the facial pain that may result from bruxism.
Based on the examination and diagnosis, one or more treatments may be recommended. A custom-made appliance can be worn while sleeping. Designed to fit your teeth, the custom-made appliance is a small, simple device that fits securely and comfortably on your upper teeth or lower front teeth and prevents contact between the upper and lower molars. Other treatments may involve reducing high spots on the teeth to even the bite or possibly reshaping the biting surfaces with inlays or crowns. In some cases of daytime bruxism, a small appliance that fits the lower front teeth is also necessary.
Your children deserve your support.
Parents want the best for their children: straight teeth, properly sized jaws, straight profiles and beautiful smiles. By treating problems early, you save money and may prevent the need for more extensive future treatment.
- Early treatment should be initiated for:
- Habits such as tongue thrusting and thumb sucking
- A constricted airway due to swollen adenoids or tonsils
- Mouth breathing or snoring problems
- A bad bite
- Bone problems (i.e. narrow or underdeveloped jaws)
Broad, Beautiful Smiles
Mouth breathing can cause narrow arches and unattractive smiles. By using functional appliances while children are actively growing we can help them achieve a broad, beautiful smile.
Healthy Jaw Joints
Many children with narrow jaws, deep overbites or receding lower jaws have unhealthy jaw joints which can cause:
- Neck pain
- Earaches or ringing in ears
- Clicking or locking jaws
- Difficulty opening jaws
Early use of functional appliances can prevent or eliminate these problems.
To Breathe Freely
Mouth breathing can lead to orthodontic problems as well as other problems, such as lack of oxygen and poor sleep habits. This leaves children prone to daytime fatigue, an inability to concentrate in school and headaches.
An End To Ear Pain
Deep overbites and receding lower jaws may cause earaches, stuffiness or ringing in the ears. If infection has been ruled out, functional appliances can eliminate these symptoms effectively.
Facilitated Speech Development
Narrow jaws can confine the tongue and interfere with normal speech. Functional appliances help ensure proper growth and greatly enhance a childs ability to speak normally.
Functional Appliances Can Help Correct:
- Bite Problems
- Underdeveloped Jaws
- Narrow Arches
- Crowded Teeth
- Deep Overbites
- Jaw Joint Problems
- Airway Problems
- Thumb sucking Habits
And Can Often Prevent:
- Removal of Adult Teeth
- Fang-like Tooth Appearances
- Lengthy Use Of Braces
- Speech difficulties
To Eliminate Crowding
Crowded teeth are caused by narrow arches. By developing the arches at an early age, we may prevent or eliminate the crowding of permanent teeth. Another advantage is that early treatment often eliminates the need to remove any adult teeth.
The goal of treatment is to correct the positioning of the teeth.
Braces or other appliances may be used to change the positioning or alignment of teeth and adjoining bones. Metal bands are placed around some teeth or metal, ceramic, or plastic bonds are attached to the surface of the teeth. Wires or springs apply force to the teeth. The alveolar bone (tooth sockets) responds to pressure by remodeling -- dissolving bone in front of the tooth and replacing bone behind the tooth. The same process occurs in the structure which connects the 23 bones of the cranium or head. Other appliances may be recommended instead of, or in addition to, braces.
Rough or irregular teeth may be adjusted down, reshaped, and bonded or capped. Misshapen restorations (fillings or crowns) and dental appliances should be repaired. Surgery may be required on rare occasions. This may include surgical reshaping to lengthen or shorten the jaw (orthognathic surgery). Wires may be used to stabilize the jaw bone (similar to surgical stabilization of jaw.)
Meticulous oral hygiene is vital during orthodontic treatment as well as regular visits to the general dentist. Plaque accumulates on orthodontic appliances and may permanently mark teeth or cause tooth decay if not properly cared for.
Retainers (appliances used to stabilize the teeth) may be required for an indefinite time to maintain the new position of the teeth.