Happy Portrait

Orthodontic Treatment

Braces

Besides improving the appearance of your smile, braces can also improve the health and function of your mouth. If your teeth are crowded, uneven, or crooked and you are considering options for straightening your teeth, now is the time to consider speaking with a dentist. Refer to the following information to find out how orthodontic treatment works and if it is right for you.

 

How Can I Get Braces?

If you have orthodontic problems and have always wanted straight teeth, scheduling an appointment at our office is the first step to take. During your initial consultation, our braces dentist will listen to your concerns and utilize a variety of methods to design a treatment plan that works best for you. In addition to closely examining your teeth and mouth, your dentist may also take x-rays and make an impression of your teeth to see how they are currently positioned.

 

Facts About Getting Braces

Whether you are receiving ceramic or metal, the steps involved in putting braces on remain the same. First, your dentist or orthodontist will clean and dry your teeth. During the next step, a special glue is applied to your teeth and then the brackets are attached. While the glue may not have a pleasant taste, it’s completely harmless to have in your mouth. Finally, archwires are placed onto the brackets and everything is secured with elastic bands.

What Are Common Types of Braces?

With all of the recent advances in orthodontics, there are more options available for you to choose from. Traditional metal braces are very common in our clinic, and they consist of brackets and wires that are placed on your teeth. You can also choose ceramic braces, which are similar in size and shape to the traditional ones, but they are white or clear in appearance. This allows them to look very similar in color to your teeth so they are less noticeable.

For invisible braces, one option is a set of clear aligners that gently guide your teeth into a different position. These can be removed whenever you eat or drink.

What Is the Average Price for Braces?

Now that you know about how braces are put on and the different types available, you might be wondering, “How much do braces cost?” Your total cost depends on the type of braces recommended by your dentist, how long you will need to wear them, and the coverage provided by your dental insurance.

How Long Does It Take to Get Them?

The appointment to get your braces put on takes about one to two hours. It’s very common to experience soreness after the procedure, but taking an over-the-counter pain reliever should help alleviate any discomfort. You should call our office if your pain isn’t relieved within a week. On average, most of our patients wear their braces for less than two years.

Is It Mandatory to Wear a Retainer After Braces?

Your appointment to have your braces taken off will take about an hour. Once they have been taken off, wearing a retainer is an important step in keeping your teeth straight and maintaining the results achieved through orthodontic treatment. You will usually wear this oral appliance at night, which works by holding your teeth in their new position and preventing them from shifting out of alignment. We often recommend that you wear a retainer for several years to support the new position of your teeth.

 

Clear Aligners (Invisalign)

Are you dissatisfied with the spacing or alignment of your teeth? Do you desire a straighter, healthier smile? With Invisalign in Downey, you can straighten your teeth without the hassle of metal wires or brackets.

What is Invisalign Treatment?

A convenient, discreet way to straighten teeth, Invisalign consists of a series of custom-fitted aligner trays. You’ll wear each set of aligners for two weeks before moving on to the next. Much like traditional braces, these invisible aligners move your teeth into the proper position over time. These aligners are completely removable, making eating and practicing good oral hygiene simple.

What Does Invisalign Cost?

We understand that you may have questions about cost when looking for affordable Invisalign in Tampa. In most cases, the severity of your alignment problems and your insurance will determine the Invisalign cost. Flexible financing may be available, so be sure to ask your dentist or one of our team members about our payment options.

How Long Will Invisalign Treatment Take to Finish?

On average, treatment with invisible aligners lasts approximately 10 months to two years. Most adults finish treatment within one year, and treatment times vary widely for teenagers. At your appointment, one of our Invisalign dentists will create a care plan that aligns your teeth as quickly as possible.

Which Dentists Are Available to Provide Invisalign?

Locating a dental office with licensed and trained Invisalign dentists is key when considering invisible aligners. Our dentists have completed the coursework necessary to provide patients with a clear aligner system. If you’re ready to achieve a properly aligned smile, give us a call to get started.

Considering Invisalign vs Braces

If you’re deciding between Invisalign vs braces, appearance may be a significant factor in your final choice. However, finding the treatment that will work the most effectively should be the top priority. Clear aligner trays can correct malocclusion, gapped teeth, and crowding, but they may not be effective if these issues are severe. At your consultation, your dentist will answer any questions you have regarding traditional braces and clear aligners, empowering you to make an informed choice.

Advantages of Invisalign

Discreet and easy to wear, Invisalign in Tampa is a top choice among adults and teens wishing to align their teeth. Here are some of the other benefits of the clear aligner system:

  • Fewer required dental appointments – you’ll visit our office for monitoring every four to six weeks

  • Removable trays allow you to eat and drink the things you love

  • The aligners are completely free of metal wires and brackets

  • Flexible plastic trays are easy to clean

 

Who is the Ideal Candidate for Invisalign?

Adults and teenagers with mild or moderate spacing, bite, or crowding issues may be good candidates for Invisalign. Children usually cannot be fitted with clear aligners because their mouths are still growing. Our Invisalign dentists will help you decide whether the invisible aligner system is right for you.

Does My Plan Offer Invisalign Insurance?

Insurance is an important factor when determining your out-of-pocket Invisalign cost. While some plans offer coverage for invisible aligners much as they would for conventional braces, other plans do not cover orthodontic care. We encourage all patients to review their plan’s coverage options when considering clear braces.

Life After Invisalign

Once your treatment is complete, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of a healthier, straighter smile. To keep your results intact, your dentist may provide Invisalign retainers. These appliances are typically worn at night, so they won’t interfere with your daily activities.

 

Orthodontic Growth Modifiers

Growth modification (early treatment) is part of the first phase of the two-stage orthodontic treatment of children with malocclusion (poor bite). Growth modification is only possible when bones are still growing. It is most effective during children's growth spurts. 

While it sounds a little bit scary and strange, growth modification could actually help to reduce the likelihood of your child needing complex orthodontic treatment such as jaw surgeries later in their life. 

When is the best time to begin orthodontic treatment?

Though we can straighten teeth at any age, there is an optimal time to begin jaw growth modification. Growth modification is best completed when the patient is still growing.

We can take advantage of a child’s growing years by guiding proper jawbone formation using orthodontic appliances. This treatment can prevent malocclusions (bad bites) from forming or correcting existing ones. Once the patient is an adult, surgery may be necessary to correct significant jaw misalignments.

The ideal time to start growth modification treatment varies from patient to patient. It is based on the stage of growth of the jaws and whether the jawbones align in an underbite or an overbite.

What are the advantages of interceptive growth modification treatment?
  • Creates optimal facial symmetry

  • Fixes crowded teeth without tooth extractions

  • Corrects a crossbite

  • Corrects  an open bite

  • Corrects an overbite

  • Corrects an underbite

 

When growth modification is utilized, a severe problem that would require surgery to fix at a later date can be fixed in a non-invasive and gentle way.

By utilizing growth modification, we can increase the self-esteem and confidence of a child since his or her teeth and jawbones align better! This goes a long way in the junior high school years with our patients.

What orthodontic appliances are used during growth modification?

To give you properly functioning and aligned jaws and correctly aligned teeth, we use appliances such as, but not limited to:

 

Headgear

Headgear is often used to correct an excessive overbite. This is done by placing gentle pressure against the upper teeth and jaw, which would hold the teeth and upper jawbone in position or help move the teeth and lower jawbone into better positions.

The severity of the problem determines the length of time headgear needs to be worn. The key to success with your headgear appliance is consistency. Headgear must be worn for a certain number of hours per day.

Reverse-Pull Headgear

Often referred to as reverse-pull headgear, the protraction face mask is a removable appliance for patients when the upper jaw is not growing fast enough, resulting in a crossbite or underbite. The device consists of a metal bar attached to pads on the forehead and chin with rubber bands hooked to the facemask and upper braces or a palatal expander to gradually move the upper jaw forward.

Patient compliance is extremely important because the facemask must be worn for a set number of hours per day to obtain the desired results. The facemask device is generally worn for about 12 months.

Palatal Expander

Attached to the upper molars through bonding or by cemented bands, the palatal expander is an orthodontic device used to create a wider upper jaw. It is typically used when the upper jaw is too narrow for the lower jaw or when the upper teeth are crowded or blocked out of the dental arch.

When patients are still growing, their connective tissue between the left and right halves of their upper jaw is very responsive to expansion. By simply activating the expander by turning a screw in the centre with a special key we provide, gradual outward pressure is placed on the left and right halves of the upper jaw.

This pressure causes an increased amount of bone to grow between the right and left halves of the jaw, which ultimately results in an increased upper jawbone width.

Twin Block or a Bionator

The Twin Block or Bionator functional appliances are designed to correct lower jaw or teeth positions to reduce an overbite. Both of these appliances are removable and look a bit like wire and acrylic retainers.

These appliances are usually used to treat children who have an underdeveloped lower jaw. To ensure treatment progress as planned, the appliance should be worn at all times. It should only be removed for cleaning, eating and during sports activities.

Patients should follow instructions carefully to ensure effective results are achieved in the least amount of time.

MARA and Herbst Fixed Appliances

The Mandibular Anterior Repositioning Appliance (MARA) and the Herbst appliances are two different options of fixed appliances that are suitable for treating bites that are characterized by protrusion of the upper front teeth or a lower jaw and/or teeth that are positioned back in relation to the upper jaw and/or teeth.

The MARA and the Herbst are fixed alternatives to the Twin Block or Bionator appliances. They are great options when poor compliance with wear of the Bionator or Twin Block appliances may contraindicate them.

Both MARA and the Herbst appliance are secured to the patient’s first molars via bands that are fitted over the molars and glued into place for as long as the appliances are required. Insertion and removal of the MARA and the Herbst do not require any dental freezing and the teeth surfaces are not changed or modified in any way.

The MARA uses elbows that slide against each other to position the lower jaw forward, and the Herbst uses pistons to do the same. Both are comfortable and unobtrusive and do not interfere with chewing to any great extent.

These appliances are usually kept in place for nine to 18 months and braces can start while one of these is in place. Your improvements will be noticeable almost immediately!

Oral habits breakers 

Habit breakers do exactly what their name implies — they help patients break or stop a dysfunctional habit, like sucking thumbs or placing the tongue in between the front teeth. 

It is important to not pressure your child into quitting; rather, offer words of praise when the child is not sucking and allow stopping to be their decision. Suggest activities that will engage your child if the thumb-sucking habit is now due to boredom.

Usually, the habit stops within days, but the appliance remains in the mouth for approximately six months in order to make sure the practice has completely vanished. Very often, in cases where the patient has an open bite due to the habit, the bite will deepen spontaneously after treatment with a habit breaker.

Here are summary and some common questions:

 

WHAT ARE HABIT APPLIANCES?

Habit appliances are devices that are most commonly used to help youngsters stop sucking their thumbs. Habit appliances are also known as habit-breaking appliances or crib appliances. Most are metal devices that are placed on the inside of the front teeth and can look like metal retainers. Some habit-breaking devices can be removed, like retainers, and some are glued into place and cannot be removed. Habit-breaking appliances are often held in place by the upper molars. Habit-breaking appliances can both physically stop the bad habit and can serve as a reminder to not partake in the bad habit.

HOW ARE HABIT APPLIANCES USED?

The main purpose of habit appliances is to stop toddlers from sucking their thumbs. However, some adults also have habit appliances inserted to stop them from tongue-thrusting. The goal of habit appliances, beyond breaking bad habits like tongue-thrusting and thumb-sucking, is to prevent individuals from positioning their teeth in odd and unnatural positions that may lead to an open bite, an overbite, or protruding teeth. Habit oral appliances can prevent the teeth from aligning in bad positions. By using a habit appliance for a child who sucks their thumb after getting their permanent teeth, you can potentially prevent the need for braces.

CAN HABIT APPLIANCES BE HARMFUL?

Habit devices are not harmful to the teeth or mouth, and there is no proven drawback to using them. Habit appliances are temporary and prevent damage to the teeth caused by tongue-thrusting or thumb-sucking.

HOW LONG DO INDIVIDUALS NEED TO USE HABIT APPLIANCES?

It could take a couple of weeks to several months to break the habit. Some habit appliances are like retainers and can be removed on one’s own, however, most habit appliances are glued into place and have to be removed by a dentist once they believe the habit has been successfully broken. Sometimes habit appliances can be left in an individual’s mouth for years.

When to consider a habit-breaking oral device:

  • If thumb sucking becomes a habit

  • If tongue-thrusting becomes a habit

  • If any other bad habits arise that cause the teeth to be positioned in an unnatural way

Tooth Space retainers

Most children get their first full set of baby teeth at around three years old. Primary teeth enable them to eat their first solid foods and serve an important function as placeholders for permanent teeth. When your child loses their baby teeth prematurely, or their permanent teeth are late in erupting, a dental professional may recommend space maintainers to support their mouth until the gaps are filled with permanent teeth.

Why Are Space Maintainers Needed?

Children lose baby teeth earlier than expected for several reasons. Some experience trauma from accidents like tripping or getting hit in the mouth by a ball. Others develop early childhood cavities, also known as "baby bottle tooth decay." This can happen when babies fall asleep at either breast or bottle or walk around with a bottle for extended periods. The sugar content in the milk causes enamel to decay, which may result in tooth loss. Occasionally, some primary teeth may be absent because of a genetic condition. It's unusual for children to suffer from oral infections severe enough to cause tooth loss, although it's not impossible.

When to Consider Space Maintainers?

Regardless of why a child has missing primary teeth, it's important to consider space maintainers to ensure they develop permanent teeth in the correct locations. If one primary tooth is missing for more than a short period, the child risks other teeth becoming loose because they aren't properly supported. When this happens, the loose teeth can move into the spaces intended for other teeth. This affects permanent teeth when they erupt by guiding them into incorrect positions. Suppose your child loses primary teeth to make way for permanent ones that will erupt shortly. In that case, it might not be necessary to fit maintainers. However, if permanent teeth are some time away, your child's dental professional might recommend space maintainers are a suitable option.

Types of Space Maintainer Appliances

Space maintainers come in two types: removable and fixed. Removable devices are made of acrylic and use artificial teeth or blocks of a dental material to hold open the spaces. This device works better in an older child, who can remove the appliance to clean and care for it. Partial dentures are suitable removable maintainers for children with several missing teeth.

Fixed maintainers are attached with dental cement to teeth beside the gap. These are more suitable for young children or those who have lost a back tooth. Unilateral maintainers are fixed on one side, while bilateral appliances are fixed on both sides. They can be fitted on the upper or lower jaw to maintain space for front or back teeth. The device your dentist recommends depends on the number and location of missing teeth.

  • Band-and-loop devise. This device is made of stainless-steel wire and is held in place by orthodontic bands that allow the permanent tooth to erupt without blocking it. It is used when one or more baby molars are lost in one dental arch.

  • Lingual holding arch. This device maintains space for lower back teeth on both sides of the mouth.

  • Transpalatal arch. A transpalatal arch is fitted on the upper jaw to preserve space on both sides of the dental arch and held in place by wire fastened around the adjoining teeth.

  • Distal shoe appliance. This fixed appliance is fitted over the baby's first molar. It maintains the space for the first permanent molar once the tooth is lost.

These appliances are custom-made to fit each child. In most cases, the dentist takes impressions of the patient's mouth, which are sent to a dental laboratory to manufacture the device. Space maintainers are typically made from acrylic, with loops or bands made from stainless steel wires to hold them in position.

How to Care for Space Maintainers?

It takes time for a child to adapt to wearing a device. During this time, the dentist keeps an eye on oral hygiene, jaw growth, and permanent teeth progression. The maintainer needs adjustment periodically and requires immediate attention if it gets damaged.

Your child will have to brush twice daily and clean between their teeth once a day. They should also avoid chewing gum, biting hard candy and fruits, and pushing or pulling the device with fingers or other objects.

Whether your child had lost their baby teeth early or their permanent teeth are late to grow in, there's no reason for undue worry. With some help from a dental professional and a space maintainer, you and your child can both feel confident about a healthy incoming smile.