A generation ago it was extremely unusual to see an adult with braces on their teeth. Today that is no longer the case. Thanks to advances in dental technology, greater access to care, and an increased awareness of the benefits of a beautiful and healthy smile; now over twenty percent of people wearing orthodontic appliances are adults.
With the wide variety of orthodontic treatment options available to adults, the process of wearing braces is more convenient, more comfortable, more efficient and much less conspicuous than ever before. Bulky metal braces are truly a thing of the past. The latest generations of metal appliances are substantially smaller and less unsightly than any of their predecessors. Moreover, an adult interested in orthodontic care can select braces that are hardly visible at all. Today’s tooth -colored ceramic braces, lingual braces or removable clear aligners can all effectively deliver treatment to achieve successful and pleasing outcomes of care.
Although, adult orthodontics requires an investment of time and resources the payoff is well worth it. The value of a healthy and attractive smile is priceless. Thanks to modern orthodontics, having teeth that look good and function well is something that can be enjoyed at any age.
Invisalign®* is a form of orthodontic treatment that works to correct many different types of malocclusions through the use of a series of clear plastic trays called aligners. In many cases it provides an excellent treatment alternative to traditional orthodontic braces and metal wires.
Invisalign utilizes 3-D computer imaging technology to correct problematic bites or malocclusions by planning a complete sequence of custom-made clear aligners. This series of clear aligners, each of which is worn for a couple of weeks, incrementally move the teeth into place until the final desired corrections are reached.
The advantage and appeal of Invisalign appliances is that they are more cosmetic and more comfortable than most other orthodontic appliances. With Invisalign appliances orthodontic treatment is practically “invisible.”
Invisalign®* offers adults and teens a more cosmetic, comfortable and convenient alternative to other types of orthodontic appliances.
Designed to move teeth through a planned sequence of clear aligners, Invisalign is virtually invisible to the outside world. Transforming smiles with minimal interference to daily activities, Invisalign allows teens and adults to enjoy eating all of their favorite foods, and engage in sports without the fear of breaking their orthodontic appliances or sharp poking wires. Moreover, as the aligners are completely removable, toothbrushing and flossing is much easier. There is no need to struggle to clean in between and around any attached orthodontic brackets and wires.
While not a solution for every type of orthodontic case, treatment with Invisalign is an excellent choice for many image-conscious teens and adults. The most discrete and easy to wear option in orthodontic care, Invisalign for teens also features a special blue dot indicator to monitor treatment compliance.
*Invisalign is a registered trademark of Align Technology, Inc.
Today, there are metal braces that can be placed on the “tongue side” or lingual of every tooth. Known as lingual braces, these appliances are completely hidden from the outside world. While these braces work in the same way as the metal or ceramic braces affixed to the front of your teeth, they can only be spotted on close inspection during such times as when your mouth is wide open. Far less obvious than most other types of braces, lingual braces, due to where they are located, can be a bit more uncomfortable and more difficult to keep clean. It is also more of a challenge to get used to speaking with this type of orthodontic appliance.
Other types of orthodontic appliances may also be used during the course of treatment. Some of these appliances are removable and can be taken in and out of the mouth, while others will be attached to the teeth until they are no longer needed.
Depending upon the specific needs of the case, these appliances may be used to accomplish a number of things including:
Most problems involving the alignment of your child’s teeth and the growth of their jaws can be identified by the time they are in the first or second grade. That is why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children have a check up with an orthodontic specialist no later than age 7. At this visit the orthodontist will carefully examine your child’s bite and assess the alignment and development of the teeth. The orthodontist will also look at the growth and relationships of the jaws, and in particular check for any shifts or dysfunction. It will also be determined if any premature tooth loss, habits, swallowing or breathing patterns are having an effect on your child’s occlusion.
Following this visit the orthodontist will indicate if any immediate preventative or interceptive orthodontic care is needed. In many circumstances no treatment is required right away and the child can be observed until it is the appropriate time for care. Your child’s dental development as well as their prospective facial growth will be carefully considered in outlining the best timetable for care.
Orthodontic treatment for children typically begins between the ages of 9 and 14. At this time they are generally in the mid to late mixed dentition stage. This means they have a mix of permanent front teeth, permanent molars, and some baby teeth. The benefit of placing braces at this stage is that the orthodontist can improve the alignment of permanent front teeth, guide the incoming new adult teeth into position, and utilize the child’s growth and development to best advantage.
Often habits such as prolonged thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, and certain swallowing or breathing patterns that can open or distort the bite are better dealt with when care is initiated at a younger age. Early treatment is also helpful when the top jaw is too narrow, not developing in harmony with the lower jaw, or if permanent top teeth are behind the lower ones when closing the jaws. Likewise, if a young child’s front teeth protrude excessively or very severe crowding is present a first phase of orthodontic care can be beneficial.
The objectives of early treatment and a first phase of orthodontic care are to influence jaw growth, create more space for crowded teeth, help to correct harmful habits, and improve facial aesthetics. With early treatment the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth as well as the need for extractions of permanent teeth can be lessened. Early treatment can also simplify the next phase of orthodontic care.
Greater than half of all orthodontic patients are teenagers between the ages of 12 to 17 years. At this stage of development most of their permanent teeth, with the exception of the wisdom teeth, have already erupted into place. Any problems with the alignment of the teeth, issues with the bite, as well as discrepancies in jaw relationships are readily detectable at this time, making your teen an excellent candidate for orthodontic care.
The teenage years are typically a time of significant physical and emotional development. In addition to acquiring a more adult appearance, teens are developing a heightened sense of self-awareness, building self-confidence, and investing more in peer relationships. Having teeth that are crooked, gapped, crowded, or protruding can have a negative impact on their self-image as well as their self-esteem. In addition to that, malocclusions can predispose teens to TMJ issues, headaches, and dental disease.
Helping your teen to achieve a well aligned, more pleasing, and healthier smile means making a commitment to orthodontic care. Although orthodontic treatment involves wearing some type of appliances and takes time, the ultimate reward of a beautiful smile is well worth the effort.
The good news is that, thanks to advances in modern orthodontics today’s image conscious teens can choose from a wide selection of braces that are far less bulky, much less noticeable, and more comfortable than ever before.
If a child’s facial growth and development does not proceed in a normal and harmonious manner, then the jaws may not achieve the proper relationship or alignment. This can present an individual with varying degrees of functional and cosmetic problems. When the jaws are not in the anatomically correct positions it can have a negative effect on the occlusion (the bite), facial symmetry and balance, as well as the temporomandibular joint. Problematic jaw relationships can even make eating, speaking, and normal breathing more difficult.
Orthodontic treatment alone is often insufficient to address all of the issues caused by these improper or disproportionate jaw relationships. Orthognathic surgery, more commonly known as corrective jaw surgery, is sometimes necessary to help address these skeletal and dental irregularities.
Orthognathic surgery involves a team approach with an orthodontist preparing and finalizing the alignment of the teeth along with an oral and maxillofacial surgeon to treatment plan and perform the corrective jaw procedures. If needed, other specialists may be involved in treating the patient to address any additional dental or medical issues necessary to achieve the best functional and cosmetic results.
The most common type of braces seen today remain “metal braces”. Made of high-grade stainless steel these braces are significantly smaller and have a lower profile than their predecessors from years ago. Each brace, which is known as an orthodontic bracket, is individually bonded to the front of each tooth. Metal braces allow for efficient and highly controllable tooth movement.