At Eten Dental, we realize that you may not know exactly what orthodontics is and that is okay. It is a dental specialty that is used to help correct a patient’s teeth when the teeth are not in the proper place. If you think of crooked teeth or misalign teeth, you would have a good idea of what it is. When teeth are crooked, it can be more difficult to care for them, especially when you have to clean them and remove food particles from them. If you cannot remove all of the plaque buildup, cavities will form and periodontal disease can begin. In addition, when your teeth are not in the proper place, you may become self-conscious or you may notice that extra stress is placed onto your jaw, which may lead to TMJ.
Orthodontic practices offer a complete set of benefits to patients who receive the care and the benefits last a lifetime. At Eten Dental, Dr. Hwang is an orthodontist, which means he received an additional two years of training over a general dentist. All orthodontists are required to attend a school accredited by the ADA.
Do I Need Orthodontics?
Only your orthodontist or general dentist will be able to determine if you need to have any type of orthodontic work performed. Your dental history will be evaluated first and you will need to discuss your concerns with Dr. Hwang. Often times, Dr. Hwang will take a plaster mold of your teeth to determine if orthodontic treatment will work for you.
Below, we will go over several different conditions that may require orthodontic treatment:
- Crowding: This occurs when the patient’s teeth are too close together and the dental ridge does not come together and cannot accommodate the teeth.
- Misplaced Midline: This is a condition when the upper front teeth are unable to line up with the center of your lower front teeth.
- Open Bite: This occurs when there is a large space that is present between your biting surface of the front and side teeth when the back bite is done at the same time.
- Overbite: This is when the upper front teeth sit too far in front of the lower bottom teeth and is often referred to as buck teeth.
- Underbite: This is when the lower bottom teeth stick out further than the front teeth, often resulting in a bulldog look.
- Spacing: gaps and spaces in teeth can make them difficult to treat and clean, which is why treatment is needed.
- Crossbite: This occurs when the upper teeth in the front do not come down all of the way to the lower teeth in the front.
How Does Orthodontic Treatment Work?
There are a variety of orthodontic treatment options available to candidates from fixed to removable appliances. Some of these appliances will restrict the movement of your jaw while others do not. The appliances you receive will depend on your condition and what Dr. Hwang thinks you need. To determine the best appliance, you will need to have a complete evaluation performed to identify the exact problem. Below, you will find some information on the different types of appliances available.
Headgear – This is a device that will be placed behind the patient’s head and attached to a metal wire that is typically in the front. This gear will work to slow down the process of jaw growth in the front and it will hold the teeth in the position they need to be in.
Removable Retainer – This device is placed on the roof of a patient’s mouth and it works to prevent the teeth from moving to their original position. These types of retainers are often used when a patient sucks their thumb.
Aligners – An alternative to braces, aligners are often recommended to be used on adults and teens. They are usually made from an acrylic material and can be removed easily to eat, brush, talk, and floss.
Jaw Repositioning Appliance – Often called a splint, this is a device that is worn on the upper or lower portion of the jaw and works to help with TMJ.
Palatal Expander – This type of device is attached to the upper arch area within the upper jaw. It is made from a flexible plastic material and places pressure onto the joint of the bones of the palate to help open the area up.
Removable Space Maintainers – This are made from acrylic and made to fit over the jaw and use plastic branches that maintain an open space where a tooth has been lost.
Lip and Cheek Bumpers – Bumpers are used to release pressure that may be felt on the lips and cheeks from the teeth.
Fixed Space Maintainers – If a baby tooth is lost in a patient’s mouth, the fixed space maintainer will be used to keep the spot open until the permanent tooth comes in.
Braces – This is one of the most common forms of orthodontic correction and is made up of a series of brackets and wires. Once these wires and brackets are placed into the mouth, the teeth are used as an anchor for them and you will often see them bonded to the tooth itself. Wires pass through the braces anchors and the wires place tension on the teeth to move them into position. You will find that the braces are adjusted once a month, but they may be adjusted less often depending on your specific needs. Today’s braces offer children the chance to style them with different colored wires for the bands.
Special Fixed Appliances – These appliances are used to end tongue thrusting and sucking of the thumb. These appliances attach to the teeth via a band system.
If you would like to discuss your options for orthodontic treatment, now is the time to call Eten Dental in Bayside. Dr. Hwang would love the opportunity to speak with you and provide you with a FREE consultation so that you can learn more about orthodontic treatment.