Many people desire to have their teeth properly aligned for a better aesthetic or treat the underlying dental condition. To do this, you need to receive orthodontic treatment that focuses on realigning your teeth in the jawbone using various orthodontic procedures. The most common process involves the traditional braces installation to assist in teeth realignment.
However, with technology developments in the medical field, new treatment options are emerging, bringing more benefits and shorter treatment times. Upon deciding to consult an orthodontist, we recommend taking time to find a skilled and well-experienced professional who understands the intricate processes he/she has to undertake throughout treatment. Additionally, your orthodontist should be ready to explain the reason for most steps in your treatment to give you confidence in his/her treatment methods.
Choosing Washington Dental as your preferred clinic for orthodontic services is a great step towards achieving a perfect smile and maintaining your realigned dental structure. Our orthodontic team has performed numerous treatment processes on patients and is well versed in the installation of braces for successful treatment. Moreover, we are equally experienced in providing all the pre-treatment services and providing aftercare advice to help you maintain the best oral hygiene when the braces are installed. Our services are available for patients seeking treatment in Lomita, California.
What Orthodontic Services Entail
Orthodontic services involve a specialized form of dental treatment that focuses on correcting teeth and jaw misalignment. Typically, a patient will schedule a consultation because his/her teeth are not ‘straight,’ meaning that alignment or jaw correction is required. Therefore, an orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in this form of treatment by including various forms of treatment.
Traditionally, metal braces were the most commonly used medical appliance to perform orthodontic treatment. They work by applying pressure to different teeth, pushing them into the required spaces for proper alignment. Today, other appliances are helpful in orthodontic treatment, including Invisalign. Orthodontists also perform dental surgery if required to complete the treatment as later discussed.
Upon beginning treatment, you can expect to have the selected dental appliance in your mouth for at least six months, depending on the severity of your teeth misalignment. However, standard treatment periods last for over a year as the specialist works towards permanent realignment of the teeth. Ultimately, the orthodontist will provide a final report after examination to determine whether the treatment is complete.
As a patient, you play a significant role in determining the outcome of your treatment, as the success depends on whether you follow the orthodontist’s instructions. Usually, he/she schedules appointments to review the realignment progress every two weeks to a month. During these appointments, the orthodontist can establish whether your treatment is making changes in your dental structure. We, therefore, advise you to collaborate with your orthodontist for a seamless treatment period.
The Role of Orthodontic Treatment
As mentioned, orthodontic services aim to align your teeth accordingly in your mouth to help you achieve a better facial esthetic and avoid dental complications. Nonetheless, a detailed explanation of how orthodontic appliances work is essential, as you can determine your initial misalignment problem. In return, you will understand how the orthodontist intends to provide treatment, making you more comfortable in the entire process. Hence, orthodontics is important in treating patients by:
Closing Teeth Gaps
If your teeth grew with several gaps in between, you might choose to have them closed, depending on your preferences. For others, the gaps may arise from trauma that led to a tooth loss or from a severe infection that prompted a tooth extraction. Regardless of the causes, orthodontics can remedy the condition, giving you a better smile and peace of mind.
Correcting Teeth Misalignment
Some patients require simple teeth alignment, especially if their jaws can accommodate their teeth without opening or tight spaces. Typically, misalignment occurs when permanent teeth grow in place of milk teeth. However, some cases arise from improper tongue placement, causing your teeth to move out of their jawbone positions. Fortunately, the conditions are reversible, thanks to different forms of administering orthodontic treatment.
Correcting Overbites, Underbites, or Crossbites
An overbite is a condition where the teeth in your upper jaw protrude further from your lower jaw, making it difficult to close your mouth comfortably. Overbites may also cause a patient to appear older than their actual age, primarily because their face structure makes their lower lip appear sunken. Thus, correcting an overbite is advisable to help you achieve your natural face structure appearance.
In adverse cases, overbites may cause complications like excessive growth of teeth. This may occur because the teeth on the upper jaw lack a surface to rest on, usually provided through contact with teeth on the lower jaw. On the other hand, an underbite is a reverse condition where teeth on the lower jaw protrude more than those on the upper jaw. Similarly, the condition may lead to a change in appearance, as your skull and jaw bone structure are misaligned.
Crossbites involve improper alignment of the upper and lower jaw, meaning that you may be unable to bite, chew and close your mouth properly. For example, a healthy jaw structure should align the upper incisors and canines to the lower teeth. However, when you have a crossbite, your upper canines may align with your lower incisors.
Correcting the discussed conditions can help you avoid discomfort and self-consciousness that may affect your productivity and confidence. By starting treatment, the orthodontic appliances used will gently apply pressure to targeted teeth to promote proper alignment over time.
Reducing Teeth Crowding by Opening Spaces
For some patients, misalignment may arise from teeth crowding, pushing some teeth out of place. You may have some teeth growing in your gums in extreme cases, especially for the upper jaw canines. In other cases, teeth crowding may cause some to protrude outside their recommended growth spaces. Thus, you may find it difficult to chew, speak or even maintain a good mouth closing posture.
Hence, orthodontic treatment can help by pushing some teeth apart to open up spaces. You may also have some teeth extracted to create new spaces that reduce the crowding. Afterward, pressure from wires will guide the teeth into place as desired.
Types of Orthodontic Appliances
Once your orthodontist examines you during your first consultation, he/she makes several recommendations, including the type of orthodontics suitable for your treatment. Your preferences are also an element for consideration before the orthodontist can recommend the most appropriate option. The various orthodontic options are:
Traditional Metal Braces
While technological developments have led to better treatment options, traditional metal braces remain the most commonly used orthodontic appliances. They have provided good results for patients throughout the years, meaning that most orthodontists are most comfortable using them for treatment.
The traditional braces consist of a bracket, which is the small metal piece stuck to your tooth. The branches are then supported by a strong and flexible archwire that provides the required push or pull force during realignment. Lastly, the archwire is held in place by elastic bands wound around the bracket to secure the wire tightly.
During each appointment, the orthodontist removes these bands to change the wire and replace it with a stronger one for additional pressure on the teeth. Since traditional braces require continuous adjustment, you are more likely to have dental appointments every two to four weeks. By attending all readjustment sessions, you will increase your chances of completing treatment sooner.
Like metal braces, self-ligating braces are also made up of a bracket and archwire. However, the bracket design is slightly different, as it has an attached flap that snaps closed. This replaces the use of elastics to hold the archwire in place during installation, making them a better model compared to traditional braces.
Moreover, the self-ligating braces work more efficiently, thanks to their improved design. Subsequently, you will only need to see your orthodontist once a month for readjustment, but your teeth continue to align for that extended period. These braces are also more gentle on your teeth during readjustment, as the force from the archwire is more evenly distributed.
Patients report having a better adjustment period after the initial installation, making it easier to chew and bite. The design improves traditional braces as they exert more pressure on a patient’s teeth.
Lingual braces are a modified version of traditional metal braces placed at the back surface of your teeth instead of the front. The design is ideal for people who prefer keeping their orthodontic treatment discreet for various reasons. For example, lingual braces are a common choice among actors, professionals in the corporate world, and models whose dental aesthetics matter in the course of work.
While the placement of lingual braces is different, the treatment method is similar to traditional braces by closing or opening gaps for realignment. However, since the placement on the inner teeth surface is more compact, the treatment duration may be longer. This is because less space makes it harder for the orthodontist to align all teeth simultaneously. Nonetheless, it remains a viable option if you are looking for discreet treatment.
Invisalign is a fairly recent model of orthodontic treatment developed to increase comfort during treatment. It is made of sturdy plastic that takes the shape of your ideal dental structure. Therefore, Invisalign works by moving your teeth into the ideal structure mimicked in the plastic appliance.
You will need to wear the plastic appliances for at least two weeks to allow your teeth to move. After the set duration, your orthodontist provides a new pair of Invisalign to continue the alignment process until you achieve the required results.
Preparing for Orthodontic Treatment
When your dentist advises you to begin treatment, there are several pre-treatment processes to undergo. They are essential to the overall outcome, so we recommend following through with them. Firstly, we will study models of your teeth using a special dental mold. These models are important as they replicate your dental structure.
We use them as a reference point to design your braces or Invisalign and project the outcome. Often, taking the impressions can be completed in the first appointment, as it is a quick and painless process.
Secondly, your orthodontist will direct you to take X-ray images of your teeth and jaw structure to provide a clear visual representation of your condition. The images are also necessary for developing a treatment plan because we can predict how your teeth will move before proper alignment.
If the specialist determines that your jaw is overcrowded, he/she may also require you to have several teeth extracted. This process is a common pre-treatment step aimed at creating more space for teeth to move.
While most patients are nervous about the extraction procedure, it is often painless and quick, primarily because we numb the targeted area. Afterward, the dentist will provide painkillers to help manage discomfort after the numbing medication wears off.
Some misalignment conditions also occur because the jaws are improperly positioned. In these circumstances, placing braces or Invisalign is not enough to remedy the problem. The most efficient solution involves performing dental surgery to reposition the jaws and prevent reversion of results. If your orthodontist recommends this option, you may take a few days to consider it, as we understand the invasive nature of the procedure.
Apart from these pre-treatment processes, we also encourage you to ask any questions regarding treatment as soon as possible. Having interactions with your orthodontist ensures that you have no doubts about going into treatment. In return, your knowledge and appreciation of the various procedures will make you more willing to follow given instructions.
The Installation Procedure
When you are scheduled for braces or Invisalign installation procedure, we advise you to have a heavy meal before time. We recommend this because having the appliances fitters in your mouth for the first time can be uncomfortable and requires some time to adjust. Subsequently, eating will be a difficult task to complete after the first few hours of installation.
We begin by cleaning your teeth in the clinic to ensure that the brackets do not harbor any microorganisms when placed. We use special saline solutions that penetrate in between your teeth to help remove any stuck particles.
After each tooth is thoroughly cleaned, we then apply adhesive on one tooth at a time to set the foundation for your brackets to hold. The type of adhesive used should be strong enough to hold the bracket despite applying pressure when biting or chewing. This way, you avoid making too many visits to the dentist for emergency services.
When the adhesive is well set, we will mount the metal brackets on each tooth at a time to hold the archwire. Once the tooth surface is in contact with the bracket, the orthodontist will use UV light to dry the adhesive and complete the attachment process. Using Ultraviolet light is recommended because it ensures the adhesive dries out completely.
The drying process is important before installing the archwire, as it will begin applying pressure as soon as it is secure. Thus, the orthodontist may repeat exposure to the UV light until he/she is content with the bracket placement.
Next, the archwire is safely inserted in the bracket opening, with the excess length cut to avoid poking your gums or cheeks. The orthodontist will tighten the wire to the required tension, as he/she deems fit for treatment. After that, the wire is secured using elastic bands or the metallic flaps that snap to close.
Once this process is complete for all teeth, the installation is complete, and your teeth will start realigning. The procedure is painless and often takes thirty to fifty minutes to complete altogether. Sometimes, patients may prefer to have their teeth extracted and braces/Invisalign installed on the same day, which may be acceptable. However, the dentist will gauge the level of discomfort you are likely to suffer and advise on the best option to take.
Aftercare Tips for Orthodontic Treatment
Soon after your orthodontic appliances are installed, you will notice a sudden change in your ability to bite, chew or even speak clearly. However, the hardships are often only adjustment periods that should end within a few weeks. Thus, your dentist will provide some aftercare tips to help you cope with discomfort and to prevent breaking your brackets or wire. They include:
- Stick to a soft-food diet to prevent breaking your brackets and wires.
- Clean your teeth after every meal if possible, or at least twice a day.
- Avoid high-impact sports, or wear protective gear when participating in these activities.
- Attend all follow-up dental appointments to ensure your treatment is continuous.
- Use your dental wax on irritated wounds to avoid infections.
You will also have to wear elastics for most orthodontic treatment processes to aid in teeth realignment. Most patients find the elastics to e inconveniencing and difficult to wear consistently because they affect your speech, ability to eat, and general appearance. Nevertheless, they are quite effective in the treatment and can reduce your treatment time significantly if worn consistently. Therefore, we recommend wearing them as recommended and removing them when eating to give you a more bearable feeding experience.
The Cost of Orthodontic Treatment
Typically, orthodontic treatment costs range between $1800 to $7000 in California. However, the price range is influenced by numerous factors, including your location and the type of clinic you visit. Sometimes, upscale locations may charge highly, compared to surrounding locations within the state.
On top of this, the cumulative expenses may increase if you have to undergo several pre-treatment procedures. This is because these procedures are necessary for a successful orthodontic treatment, meaning that they are classified as part of the whole process.
For example, if your dentist recommends you have several tooth extractions to create space for the braces realignment, the cost of extractions is factored in. Subsequently, you may have to face crucial in planning your final budget when discussing the possible pre-treatment procedures.
Further, treatment costs also vary depending on the type of braces installed. Normally, lingual braces are more expensive than traditional and self-ligating braces because they offer a more discreet form of treatment. Therefore, your dentist can guide you in choosing the best type of braces for your treatment by factoring in your preferences and comparing them to your budget.
Lastly, you should note that most insurance covers may decline to cover your orthodontic treatment, as it is classified under aesthetic services. This means that most insurance companies do not deem the treatment an essential service, so patients are bound to make their financial arrangements to cater to the costs. Despite this, we provide an elaborate payment option for patients interested in the treatment, as we understand the importance of fulfilling your medical needs.
After making a consultation visit, we can discuss the various payment options available to help you avoid financial pressure. After settling on a specific treatment option, you will be ready to begin treatment as soon as possible.
Find an Orthodontic Clinic Near Me
Patients who decide to seek orthodontic treatment will have taken a bold step towards transforming their teeth’ appearance and general oral health. You need trust to allow an orthodontist to offer gradual treatment until the final results are visible. You want to engage an orthodontic dentist who understands the importance of providing excellent services.
The length of treatment may interfere with your life. Therefore, you may want to reduce the duration as much as possible. At Washington Dental, we offer quality orthodontic services to boost your confidence and personal satisfaction towards your dental structure aesthetic.
We take time to develop a treatment option that suits your face structure, to ensure that the results are long-lasting. Moreover, we are keen on maintaining a good relationship with our patients to enable them to approach us at any time, in case of emergencies or queries. If you would like to start orthodontic treatment in Lomita, California, call us today at 310-326-5183.