All About Braces
All patients should first be screened by age 7 to determine if any early treatment is necessary! Catching some problems early on and fixing them before problems even begin can save valuable time and money.
The cosmetic benefits of orthodontics speak for themselves. In addition to getting a beautiful Bowtie Smile, getting straight teeth has other beneficial attirbutes – straight teeth are less prone to plaque and tartar build up, which can help fight off cavities and gum disease!
Technology has come a long way, and new treatment modalities are available that make treatment more efficient, with less visits to the office! We know everyone is busy, and our office will do our best to accommodate any schedule!
Your diet with braces will be a little different! We ask our patients to minimize intake of sugary foods to help prevent cavities from forming while your braces are on. The only absolute no’s with braces are things that are very sticky, hard, or crunchy (think laffy taffy, jolly ranchers, life savers, caramels, toffee, and gummy bears…). Most other foods can be eaten, but with some modification! Biting into carrots and apples with your front teeth is a no-no, but cutting them into smaller pieces and then chewing them with back teeth is okay.
Keeping your teeth healthy is super important during your braces treatment! Keeping excellent oral hygiene at home is of utmost importance. Brushing at least twice daily for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing and/or Waterpicking frequently will also help prevent your gums from getting very puffy and inflamed during treatment. After brushing, inspect your teeth and braces – if you still see plaque between the brackets and your gums, you are not done!
Retainers are the key to maintaining your new, snazzy Bowtie Smile! Patients will wear retainers 24 hours per day (with some small exceptions) for the first 3 months after braces come off, and then nighttime after that. You are never done wearing your retainers if you want straight teeth! Like anything else, as you age, eyesight and hearing get worse – just the same – teeth will shift!
Sometimes, accidents happen and a wire is poking or a bracket is broken. If this happens, give our office a call and someone will get you scheduled as soon as convenient for you if an appointment is necessary.
Orthodontics for Children
Children should be seen as young as age 7 to screen for any possibly abnormalities which may arise. Treating certain things early can prevent harmful or damaging events from happening!
Some things to be aware of:
- Excessive crowding of teeth
- Early loss or extraction of baby teeth
- Harmful habits such as thumb sucking or mouth breathing
- Abnormal jaw proportions
- Crossbites – where top teeth are inside of bottom teeth
- Bullying in school or activities
Treatment at a young age can prevent future surgical procedures, gum recession, wearing down of teeth, and possibly extractions of adult teeth to create space.
Orthodontics for Teens
The teenage years are the most common age to receive orthodontic treatment. Most patients have all of their adult teeth between the ages of 11 and 13.
Esthetics are important to the teen patient. We are happy to offer clear ceramic braces as well as clear aligners to help with esthetics.
Length of treatment time is another common question from teens. Every patient is different! Typical treatment timeframes run between 12-24 months, with some exceptional cases taking a bit longer. Everyone responds differently to treatment, and some patient’s teeth move more quickly than others. Additionally, following directions of appliance wear and not breaking appliances and not missing appointments all shorten treatment timelines! We are happy to accommodate any schedule limitations you or your child have! Not being able to get to the office should never be the limiting factor in getting a Bowtie Smile you can be proud of!
Teens are at an excellent time to obtain orthodontic treatment, because Dr. Jay is able to harness some growth of the jaws to accommodate tooth movement.
Orthodontics for Adults
Most adults are greatly concerned with esthetics. Clear aligners are often a great option for the adult patient. Some bites require a bit more control, and clear ceramic braces are often a good choice as well to maximize esthetics for the busy, working adult.
Appointments are typically every 2-3 months for the first half of treatment, and become more frequent after that as we begin fine tuning the smile and making sure the esthetics of the smile are one you will be proud of! We are happy to accommodate any schedule limitations you or your child have! Not being able to get to the office should never be the limiting factor in getting a Bowtie Smile you can be proud of!
You are never too old for braces or clear aligners! Straighter teeth allow for less plaque and tartar build up, which can reduce the chances of gum disease or cavities in an adult. There are some limitations that present when the jaw bones are done growing (as in an adult patient), but there is always a solution to achieve your smile goals.
Two Phase Treatment
Sometimes, severe problems can be intercepted before they cause detrimental side effects. These problems listed above in the ‘Orthodontics for Children’ section, that require early treatment (before all adult teeth are in the mouth) are called interceptive orthodontics, or phase 1 orthodontics. By correcting some problems before they cause significant damage to the oral tissues, we can often shorten the length of comprehensive (phase 2) orthodontics. The total amount of time spent in appliances is typically the same, but split into two distinct phases, often with a retainer phase in between.
Damon ® Braces
Dr. Jay is proud to be a provider of the Damon Braces system. This revolutionary bracket system allows Dr. Jay to create a personalized Bowtie Smile for every patient. Some of the benefits of the Damon Braces System:
- Less friction and force placed on the teeth
- Faster tooth movement
- Decreased number of appointments during treatment
- Increased width to the smile
- Less dark triangles in the corners of the mouth when smiling
- Straighter teeth
- Better smile esthetics leading to improved facial harmony and proportions
- Better lip support and balance
- Elastic ties are not necessary, leading to better hygiene during treatment compared to traditional braces
Invisalign ® and Invisalign Teen ®
Dr. Jay provides many different clear aligner products, including Invisalign and Invisalign Teen. Dr. Jay will deliver a series of trays, which is typically between 20 and 50, depending on case severity. Patients will wear their trays for 1-2 weeks at a time, and will be monitored every 1.5-3 months with a visit to the office to make sure treatment is progressing well. Clear aligners come with several benefits, including:
- Easier brushing and flossing during treatment, leading to better hygiene
- Fits a busy lifestyle with less frequent visits to the orthodontist
- Less diet restrictions than traditional braces
- Often shorter treatment timeframe
When your orthodontic treatment is complete, it is very important to maintain all of the hard work and time you put in to obtain your Bowtie Smile! Retainers are usually clear plastic trays similar to Invisalign trays. Retainers are worn 24 hours per day for 3 months after treatment ends, followed by nightly after that. Retainers are for life!! As you age, the shape of the jawbones changes, and teeth can shift to accommodate those changes if retainers are not worn! As long as you want your Bowtie Smile to stay intact, retainers should be worn nightly.
Retainers are cleaned with Dawn (or similar) dish soap and water using a soft bristle tooth brush. Daily brushing will make sure your retainers stay clean and strong for longer.
Retainers may not last forever, so if your retainer cracks or breaks, call our office as soon as possible so we can make you another set before your teeth move!
Orthognathic Surgery and Orthodontics
Some patients require a surgical procedure to obtain their Bowtie Smile! Some severe jaw problems can be corrected with orthodontics and orthognathic surgery, such as:
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing
- Severe jaw protrusions
- Disproportionate jaw sizes in relation to one another
- Unsatisfactory facial esthetics
- Severe open bites
These problems are often hereditary, and patients typically are done growing between ages 16 (females) and 18 (males). Orthognathic surgery may only be done after jaw growth is complete, so as to ensure that the jaws do not ‘outgrow’ the first round of orthodontic and surgical correction.