Orthodontics, also known as dentofacial orthopedics, is a field of dentistry specializing in the diagnosis & treatment of facial and dental imperfections. Orthodontic irregularities are not just an effect of genetic but can also be a result of lifestyle and environmental factors. Some of our patients come to us because they are experiencing an issue with their jaw function or a misalignment in their bite, making it difficult for them to eat or speak. Others look to orthodontic care for issues such as crooked teeth or teeth that have actually rotated in their mouth. No matter the reason, orthodontics can resolve most dental malformations for patients of nearly any age.
Traditional Metal Braces
What most people are familiar with when it comes to braces are the stainless steel brackets and wires we’ve all seen growing up. These traditional braces are the most affordable and most selected option for orthodontic treatment. Young patients enjoy the multitude of color varieties available for their bands and, unlike the “old days” of metal braces, today’s traditional braces have thinner wires and smaller brackets.
Ceramic braces, more commonly referred to as clear braces, work just like traditional metal braces but are far less noticeable because of the clear or tooth-colored ceramic (or plastic) used for the brackets. You can also opt for the clear wires to make the braces even more unnoticeable.
These may sound like a dream come true, especially if you would prefer to have a more aesthetically pleasing treatment, but there are some things to be aware of with clear braces. They usually will cost more than metal braces and they will stain easier if proper care is not taken to clean them as directed.
Invisalign® is truly the clear option if you are looking for great results without the look or feel of braces. Invisalign uses a series of custom-made for you “aligners” which work to slowly move your teeth into their proper final alignment. Though not available for use on children, teens and adults find that the virtually invisible appearance and ease of removable aligners makes this the perfect treatment option for them.
With Invisalign, you will wear each of the custom made aligners around 2 weeks before changing to the next tray in your series. Most treatments can be completed within a 1 year timeframe.
What comes next? Well, in order to discover which, Invisalign or braces, are the right fit for your orthodontic treatment, our friendly orthodontic team will perform the following.
A Complementary Consult
During your consultation, we will take:
- Detailed photos of both your face & your mouth
- X-rays of your teeth & jaw
- Dental impressions of your teeth & gums
Determine A Specialized Treatment Plan
Your Orthodontist will review all the information, images, x-rays and impressions taken during your consultation to develop a treatment plan specific to your unique needs. At this time, your doctor will discuss which treatment option will work best for you, traditional braces or Invisalign. If you are ready to get started, treatment can begin the same day and we will discuss with you the proper care required for cleaning and care of braces or Invisalign so you know exactly what to expect.
Follow Up Checks & Adjustments
Regular visits to your orthodontist will be required to check the progress of your treatment repair any broken or loose brackets, bands or wires. Once the desired final position is achieved, your orthodontist will remove your braces and give your teeth a professional cleaning.
To Ensure The Best Results
In order to guarantee the best results, and maintain the final position of your teeth after treatment, a retainer is usually required.
How To: Take Care of Your Dental Appliances
Once your treatment has begun, our knowledgeable and friendly ortho team will give you detailed instructions on how to care for your teeth as well as your dental appliances to maintain proper oral health care and avoid damage. For a quick reference, we have listed a few tips here for you as well.
Care Tips for Braces
- Remember to brush your teeth and braces (including bands, wires and brackets) every day, especially after eating, to avoid build up of food and plaque around your brackets and on your teeth.
- Don’t forget the floss. Though it is not as easy to maneuver with braces, your dentist will happily show you how to effectively floss around your braces and wires.
- Avoid eating foods that are hard, chewy and sticky. Foods like candy, gum, nuts, apples, raw veggies, corn on the cob, ribs, popcorn and ice should be avoided while wearing braces to avoid damage. A full list of foods to avoid will be provided to you during your consultation.
- Protect your mouth while playing sports! Talk to your orthodontist about a special mouth guard if you play sports where you potentially can experience getting hit in the face or mouth.
Care Tips for Retainers
- Remember to remove your retainer whenever you eat, drink, and brush/floss.
- Brush your retainer every time you brush your teeth and rinse with cold water.
- You should never soak a retainer in peroxide or any type of mouthwash. It is advised to occasionally soak your retainer in a denture cleaning solution (once a week or so).
- When not in use, place your retainer in the protective case.
- Hot water can actually melt your retainer! Never wash in hot water or drink hot beverages when wearing it. Also, keep it away from heat sources and direct sunlight.
- Keep your retainer away from children and pets which can damage it.
Orthodontics is the best way to achieve the beautiful smile you have been dreaming of while also minimizing future dental issues since all your teeth will be accessible for proper cleaning and maintenance. If you are ready to begin your orthodontic journey, give Smile Squad Houston a call today!