Posts for: June, 2011
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a sub-specialty of dentistry devoted to the study of growth and development of the teeth and jaws and treatment of improper bites (malocclusions).
What causes improper bites?
Malocclusions result from irregularities in the positioning of teeth, disproportionate jaw relationships, or both.
Why have orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment is carried out primarily to improve the alignment and function of your teeth and bite. It also results in improved oral health, easier maintenance, a better smile, and enhanced self-confidence and esteem.
What is the first step?
What do we need in order to plan your orthodontic treatment?
- Molds (impressions) of your teeth to study your bite (study models).
- “Articulated models” placing your study models in a machine that replicates jaw movement.
- Specialized x-rays showing your teeth and how your jaws align.
- Photographs of your smile and position of your teeth.
- Computer imaging.
What are braces?
Orthodontic appliances, commonly known as braces, are small brackets that are placed on teeth, through which thin flexible wires are threaded. They are the parts that move the teeth.
How do they work?
The wires tend to straighten out to their undistorted forms moving the teeth with them. Since the tissues that attach the bone to the teeth are living, they are constantly changing and remodeling themselves. Harnessing these natural forces allows the movement of teeth. Light controlled forces acting through the wires cause new bone to be formed as the teeth move into new improved positions.
What are current options for orthodontic appliances?
- Fixed appliances, traditionally known as braces, include brackets bonded to the teeth. These may be either metal or clear brackets, which are less visible but more susceptible to breakage.
- Removable appliances, or clear aligners. These consist of a series of computer-generated clear plastic custom fitted trays that progressively move the teeth into better alignment.
Orthodontic treatment is an ingenious scientific discovery that has allowed the dental profession to precisely move teeth for better appearance as well as improved function. It harnesses the body's natural processes by which tissues normally remodel themselves to maintain a steady state, allowing your dental team to move your teeth into improved position for a lifetime of dental health and a great smile.
Periodontal or gum disease is an often silent disease that can cause significant damage to the health of your teeth and body. The reason it is so often classified as a silent disease is because it is chronic or longstanding and often without any symptoms or pain that most people associate with a disease until it may be too late.
If you think you may have gum disease, here is what to look for:
- Bleeding gums — probably one of the most common and overlooked early warning signs that most people ignore is thinking that the bleeding is being caused by brushing their teeth too hard. The truth is that you would have to brush extremely hard to cause healthy gum tissues to bleed.
- Bad breath — something everyone has experienced; however, it can also be a warning sign of periodontal disease. This is especially true for people who hate or refuse to floss their teeth, thereby trapping literally billions of bacteria where they love to collect in the protected areas between the teeth.
- Redness, swelling, and/or receding gums — all signs of gum disease often accompanied by sensitivity of the gum tissues around the teeth.
- Chronic inflammation — long-standing gum inflammation is a sign that your gum tissues are not healing properly. Periodontal disease exhibits periods with bursts of activity followed by periods where the body tries to recover.
- Loose and/or moving teeth — that seem to be drifting into a new position, are visible signs that you are highly likely to have periodontal disease.
- Abscess formation — late stage gum disease is characterized by painful, swollen, red pockets of pus, which denotes an acute localized periodontal infection.
If you have any of these signs, you need to make an appointment for a thorough evaluation. Otherwise, you could end up losing your teeth to the second most common disease known to man after tooth decay. To learn more about gum disease, continue reading, “Warning Signs of Periodontal (Gum) Disease.” Or, contact us today to schedule an appointment.
For adults with a reasonably well fitting bite, but mild to moderate crowding or spaces between your teeth, clear orthodontic aligners can be an ideal solution for straightening your teeth. This is why we offer this treatment option to our patients experiencing these issues. However, for those of you who are unfamiliar with what they are or how they work, this will give you a brief understanding.
Clear orthodontic aligners consist of a series of clear “trays” that fit snuggly over all teeth to slowly shift them into alignment. Patients are typically required to wear them 20 hours per day for about 2 weeks before progressing to the next tray. With each new tray, you are one step closer to achieving your goal of perfectly aligned teeth. The entire process usually lasts 6-18 months depending on how much movement is required to achieve the goals.
Each aligner is individually made from very precise molds of the patient's teeth to ensure proper fit. And we map out the entire alignment process using computer generation from each patient's initial molds so that we can identify the number of trays required. But best of all, clear orthodontic aligners are perfectly smooth with no rough edges like traditional braces, and you can remove them for eating, brushing, and flossing teeth as well as for brief social events.
Are you are considering a cosmetic procedure such as porcelain veneers? To assist you in making this decision, we developed the following list of questions you should consider asking before getting porcelain veneers.
- Am I a good candidate for porcelain veneers?
- Can you show me examples of your work?
- How much will my veneers cost?
- Will my insurance cover any portion of my procedure?
- Do you offer any financing for my procedure or can you make any recommendations for financing?
- Can you create a computer-generated image or mock-up of what my new smile will look like?
- How will you chose what color to make my veneers?
- How long will it take from my initial consultation until I receive my final, permanent veneers?
- How much tooth reduction (drilling) will you need to do before placing my veneers?
- How do veneers attach to my teeth?
- Can you create a prototype or temporary veneers so that I can “test drive” my new smile before my permanent ones are made?
- What do I need to do to clean and protect my veneers?
- How long can I expect my veneers to last?
- If at some point in the future I decide I want my veneers removed, what can I expect?
We hope that the above questions help you obtain all the answers you need as you consider getting porcelain veneers. If you have other questions, concerns, or if you are ready to take the next step and schedule a consultation, please contact our office.