About Orthodontics

Why Braces?

For most people, a beautiful smile is the most obvious benefit of orthodontics. Before braces, you may limit your smile to ‘closed-mouth’ only, not showing your teeth due to embarrassment. But when your braces come off, you’ll be proud to grin big; providing you a stronger sense of self-confidence. Braces give you the smile

How Orthodontic Treatment Works

The stereotypes of painful orthodontics are gone. Today, Orthodontic Treatment is quick, simple, and less painful than before. Braces place a continuous, gentle force against your teeth in a controlled direction. They slowly move teeth to the corrected and desired position. Used to, each tooth had a metal band and bracket placed around it, but today methods are more innovative. You can choose the color of the bands that hold the less noticeable wire; you can chose brackets that are clear and virtually unseen. With today’s technology, wires are made with high-tech materials that allow for teeth to move faster and with less discomfort. This is a good time to wear braces.

Duration of Treatment

Treatment time varies depending on the patients mouth and face growth; as well as the severity of the problem. Generally speaking, treatment times range from one to three years. Treatment time also is affected by the patients compliance and use of prescribed rubber bands and/or appliances. By following the doctors orders, reaching optimal teeth positioning can be done without delay and will help achieve the most efficient treatment. Interceptive treatments, which are early treatment procedures, usually take as few as six months to complete.

Orthodontics for Children!

While the majority of people have braces installed in their teenage years, the American Association of Orthodontics recommends evaluations can begin as soon as age 7 to see if orthodontic treatment will be needed. By that age, the first permanent molars and incisors have usually come in and issues with the teeth can be evaluated. Some issues we find include crossbites and crowding.

When treatment begins early enough, the orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaw and incoming permanent teeth as well as regulate the width of the upper and lower dental arches. Early treatment can also reduce the likelihood of impacted permanent teeth, gain space for permanent teeth, avoid the need for permanent tooth extraction, correct thumb-sucking, and eliminate abnormal speech problems.

Treatment at an early age can simplify later treatment.

Adult Orthodontics... Is it too late for a Beautiful Smile?

No matter the age, orthodontic treatment can be successful. Although braces for adults might seem unnecessary or unwanted, it’s important to note that one in every five patients in orthodontic treatment is over the age of 21. Adults can appreciate the benefits of a beautiful smile.

In adult patients, we find that jaw surgery is sometimes needed more than in younger patients, simply because adult jaws no longer grow. The ability to control the path of jaw growth is not available. It is also found in some adult patients a breakdown or a loss of teeth – or bone that supports the teeth – that could require periodontal treatment as well as orthodontic treatment. Bone loss can also limit the amount and direction of tooth movement.

Two-Phase Treatment

What is the two-phase orthodontic treatment?
The Two-Phase Orthodontic Treatment is a process that involves tooth straightening and physical, facial changes. The purpose is to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional, and aesthetic result you will have for the rest of your life. The two-phase treatment maximizes that opportunity.

First Phase Treatment

1. Development for your Foundation
The first phase treatment is your foundation for a lifetime of beautiful teeth. It begins by developing the jaw size in in order to accommodate all the permanent teeth. It also is specific to relate the upper and lower jaws to each other. At an early age, some patients may show signs of jaw problems as they develop. Jaws that are growing too much or not enough, both upper and lower, can be recognized at an early age. If this jaw discrepancy is evident after age 6, they may be a candidate for early orthodontic treatment.

Planning now can save your smile later

Early phases of orthodontic treatment can enormously benefit children, because they are growing rapidly. This is done by utilizing orthodontic appliances that direct the growth of the upper and lower jaws. A good foundation can be established creating adequate room from the eruption of all permanent teeth. By correcting this early, permanent tooth removal can often be prevented and correction of overcrowding can occur. Leaving a condition untreated until all permanent teeth come in can result in a jaw problem too severe to achieve a good result with braces.

Making records to determine your unique treatment
Orthodontic records are necessary to determine the types of appliances that may need to be used. Records also help determine the duration of treatment time, and frequency of visits. Our records are made up of digital models of teeth, digital x-rays, and digital photographs.

2. Resting Period

During this phase, what permanent teeth that haven’t come in yet are given time to erupt. The existing permanent teeth need freedom to move as new teeth come in. 

Monitoring your teeth’s progress

As you reach the end of the first phase of treatment, teeth are not in their final positions. This is accomplished in the second phase of treatment. During this Resting Period, it may be best to remove certain primary teeth (baby teeth). This will help the eruption of permanent teeth. Appointments are set for observation during this time, typically on a six month basis.

Second Phase Treatment

Stay healthy and look attractive
The primary goal of the second phase is to ensure that each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it aligns with the lips, cheek, tongue, and other teeth. If this is accomplished properly and equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly.

Movement & Retention
Orthodontic records were made in the first phase as well as a diagnosis and treatment plan established. You may have had certain appliances used in the first phase also. The second phase begins when all permanent teeth have come in, and usually requires braces on all the teeth for one to three years. The average is around 24 months. After braces, retainers are worn to ensure you keep your beautiful smile.

Dentofacial Orthopedics

Dentofacial Orthopedics is the guidance of facial growth and development, which occurs primarily during childhood. This differs from Orthodontics, which is the management of tooth movement. In both Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, appliances are used to correct issues. The most familiar is braces in Orthodontics, but you will also see other specialized equipment such as rubber bands and expanders. Orthopedic treatment will sometimes occur ahead of traditional braces, but usually you will see these two accomplished at the same time.

If someone is wearing braces and rubber bands, they are undergoing both orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. Dr. Cramer specializes in both Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics so is able to diagnose misalignment in the teeth and jaw as well as the facial structure.

Carriere® Motion Class II Correction Appliance

What is the Motion Appliance?
Utilizing the latest in advanced orthodontic technology, the Motion Appliance ensures a fast, effective and aesthetic first phase treatment. Plus by jumpstarting your orthodontic care with the Motion Appliance, your overall treatment time is reduced, which means less time in braces.

Normal treatment time for the appliance is three to five months, but it can differ depending on your orthodontic case. When the desired movement is reached, your orthodontist will remove the appliance and will place your braces or aligners to complete your orthodontic care.

With the Motion Appliance, achieving a beautiful smile in the shortest possible time has never been so easy. This sleek, comfortable Class II correction appliance was designed with the patient in mind.

Benefits for You!

  • Shorter Treatment Time – The appliance is placed before your braces are put into place for faster movement of teeth and less time in braces.
  • Elastics Early On – Elastics are worn at the beginning of treatment when you are excited to start orthodontic treatment, rather than at the end when you are ready for your braces to come off.
  • Aesthetically Pleasing – Unique design makes the appliance hardly noticeable in your mouth.
  • Normal Speech – The quality of your speech is not affected unlike when you are wearing other traditional orthodontic appliances.
  • No Facial Appliance Needed – Avoid the bulky feeling from alternative solutions which are more invasive, such as headgear, and worn outside the mouth.
  • Sleek, Low-Profile Design – The low profile and smooth surface makes it comfortable to wear; there is no poking of the lips or cheeks.
  • Good Oral Hygiene – The appliance is easy to clean, plus it is also easy to brush your teeth to keep your mouth free of debris, resulting in good oral hygiene.

motion_class_correction_appliance.pdf
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Orthodontic Dictionary

Parts of Braces

  • Appliance: Anything your orthodontist attaches to your teeth which moves your teeth or changes the shape of your jaw.
  • Archwire: The metal wire that acts as a track to guide your teeth along as they move. It is changed periodically throughout treatment as your teeth move to their new positions.
  • Band: A metal ring that is cemented to your tooth, going completely around it. Bands provide a way to attach brackets to your teeth.
  • Bond: The seal created by orthodontic cement that holds your appliances in place.
  • Bracket: A metal or ceramic part cemented (“bonded”) to your tooth that holds your archwire in place.
  • Coil Spring: A spring that fits between your brackets and over your archwire to open space between your teeth.
  • Elastic (Rubber Band): A small rubber band that is hooked between different points on your appliance to provide pressure to move your teeth to their new position.
  • Elastic Tie: The tiny rubber band that fits around your bracket to hold the archwire in place. They come in a variety of colors.
  • Hook: A welded or removable arm to which elastics are attached.
  • Ligature: A thin wire that holds your archwire into your bracket.
  • Mouthguard: A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities.
  • Palatal Expander: A device that makes your upper jaw wider.
  • Retainer: An appliance that is worn after your braces are removed, the retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth to hold them in place. Some retainers are removable, while others are bonded to the tongue-side of several teeth.
  • Separator or Spacer: A small rubber ring that creates space between your teeth before the bands are attached.
  • Tie Wire: A fine wire that is twisted around your bracket to hold the archwire in place.
  • Wax: Wax is used to stop your braces from irritating your lips.

Orthodontic Procedure

  • Banding: The process of fitting and cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.
  • Bonding: The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using special orthodontic cement.
  • Cephalometric X-ray: An x-ray of your head which shows the relative positions and growth of the face, jaws, and teeth.
  • Consultation: A meeting with your orthodontist to discuss a treatment plan.
  • Debanding: The process of removing cemented orthodontic bands from your teeth.
  • Debonding: The process of removing cemented orthodontic brackets from your teeth.
  • Impressions: The process of making a model of your teeth by biting into a soft material that hardens into a mold of your teeth. Your orthodontist will use these impressions to prepare your treatment plan.
  • Invisalign®: An alternative to traditional braces, Invisalign straightens your teeth with a series of clear custom-molded aligners. Invisalign can correct some, but not all, orthodontic problems.
  • Ligation: The process of attaching an archwire to the brackets on your teeth.
  • Panoramic X-ray: An x-ray that rotates around your head to take pictures of your teeth, jaw, and other facial areas.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.

What is an orthodontist?
An orthodontist is a specialist who has completed an advanced education program following dental school to learn the special skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial development.

What are some possible benefits of orthodontics?

  • A more attractive smile
  • Reduced appearance-consciousness during critical development years
  • Better function of the teeth
  • Possible increase in self-confidence
  • Increased ability to clean the teeth
  • Improved force distribution and wear patterns of the teeth
  • Better long-term health of teeth and gums
  • Guide permanent teeth into more favorable positions
  • Reduce the risk of injury to protruded front teeth
  • Aids in optimizing other dental treatment

What are some signs that braces may be needed?

  • Upper front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth, or are bucked
  • Upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (deep bite)
  • Upper front teeth are behind or inside the lower front teeth (underbite)
  • The upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together (open bite)
  • Crowded or overlapped teeth
  • The center of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
  • Finger or thumb sucking habits which continue after six or seven years old
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
  • The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
  • Spaces between the teeth

At what age should your child first visit Cramer Orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid surgery and more serious complications. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child first visit an orthodontist by age 7 or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist, or the child’s physician.

What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?
Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment can occur between the ages of six and ten. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, and underbites, or harmful oral habits. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen.

Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a beautiful and healthy smile. Twenty to twenty-five percent of orthodontic patients today are adults.

How does orthodontic treatment work?
Braces use steady gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions.  The same effect is now possible with Invisalign® clear aligners, which puts gentle pressure on your teeth to move them gradually into an aligned position. 

How long does orthodontic treatment take?
Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from one to two years. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in keeping treatment time on schedule.

Do braces hurt?
The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires you may feel some soreness of your teeth for one to four days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.

Will braces interfere with playing sports?
No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouthguard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouthguards are inexpensive, comfortable, and come in a variety of colors and patterns. Dr. Cramer will provide a complimentary mouthguard, or patients can purchase the “Double Braces Mouthguard” at shockdoctor.com or Academy: Sports and Outdoors.

Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, wax will be provided to prevent discomfort.

Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?
Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist every six months for cleanings and dental checkups.

Links

American Association of Orthodontists – National orthodontic organization with over 15,000 members.
American Board of Orthodontics – Orthodontic specialty board recognized by the American Dental Association and sponsored by the American Association of Orthodontists.
Invisalign® – The “invisible” way to straighten teeth without braces.
Colgate – Trusted oral care products and expert information to keep your smile bright, beautiful, and healthy.
Crest – Dental hygiene products such as toothpaste, teeth whitening system, toothbrush, mouthwash, and more.