There are both aesthetic reasons for wanting braces, and oral health reasons for wanting braces, in many cases people seek them for both reasons. Dr. Geoffrey Herzog and Dr. Kristin Fenwick can evaluate your needs and help you achieve both the beautiful teeth you want, along with repairing your bite which will improve your overall oral health. Our staff at Water's Edge Dental will develop a customized treatment plan with you in mind. We can show you how braces can benefit your smile, when treatment is needed, and discuss your orthodontic options with you. Some patients may require extensive work while other may require very minimal. We offer both traditional metal braces, along with clear brackets and wires. We are happy to review your options and help you make the decision that is most beneficial to your needs.
The most obvious reason for braces is to improve the look of your smile. Improving the look is a visible difference that our patients can see and love, improving your bite can make a significant difference in your oral health.
The Visual Difference
Looking in a mirror, there are problems with your teeth that you can see. There may be gaps, overlapping, and a general unevenness to your teeth. The most frustrating part about crooked teeth is that even if a patient has great oral hygiene, their smile may seem to indicate differently. Alternatively, a beautiful smile can light up a room.
Though a crooked smile may pose an aesthetic problem, more than that, it can be an oral health problem.
Oral Health Problems Due to Crooked Teeth
Known in dentistry as a malocclusion, the alignment of your teeth can be very important to your oral health. Problems with a patient’s bite can be due to many reasons, including the size of their jaw, the shape of their jaw, the result of an impact injury, and if the patient had continuous use of a pacifier or sucking their thumb.
Common malocclusions include:
How Braces Work
Dr. Geoffrey Herzog and Dr. Kristin Fenwick can correct your bite, improving your oral health and improving the look of your smile. There are many options in orthodontic appliances; we can design a treatment plan that will fit your needs. There are orthodontic appliances made from metal, ceramic, or even clear plastic. In some cases, the patient may be able to have a removable device, and in some cases, the patient may require additional appliances while they sleep.
After an evaluation and consultation with either Dr. Geoffrey Herzog or Dr. Kristin Fenwick, and wire and bracket braces have been agreed on, the placement is done. We will attach a specified number of brackets to the surface of your teeth. It may be on your upper teeth, lower teeth, or both. The brackets are cemented onto the surface of your teeth using composite resin. This is the same material that is used to fill your teeth following a cavity or filling. A wire is then threaded through the brackets and held in place with elastic bands. Brackets and wires are available in both traditional metal coloring, and in tooth colored ceramic designed to better hide in your mouth.
The wire across the brackets is tightened in such a way to slowly pull your teeth into the correct positioning. Your braces work by placing a constant amount of gentle force, pulling the teeth in a carefully controlled direction. The control is the biggest difference in your dental health. In many cases, when a patient loses a tooth due to injury or decay they have expressed a lack of concern because orthodontists remove teeth all the time, but a lost tooth leaves the remaining teeth room to roam without control, and it will rarely be in your favor. When Dr. Geoffrey Herzog or Dr. Kristin Fenwick removes a tooth, we are doing it with a plan, and the movement of your other teeth are in our control.
The Duration of Your Treatment
Once your braces are placed, you will need to schedule regular orthodontic visits with either Dr. Geoffrey Herzog or Dr. Kristin Fenwick for tightenings. In most cases, we will want to see you every 4 to 6 weeks; this will be to evaluate your progress and tighten or adjust your braces. Your tightening appointments will include:
Braces tightenings can sometimes be uncomfortable. We are intentionally applying pressure to your teeth. You will adjust to the feeling of pressure, and future tightenings will hurt less. Please inform us if you are feeling any other discomfort aside from pressure, for example, if the wire is poking you. We can clip the ends of the wire to adjust for your needs. In some cases, the wire does not poke the patient immediately, but the patient notices it a short time afterward, especially after eating, in this situation, please contact our office, we can clip the wire to adjust for your needs. Otherwise, the wire could tear up the inside of your cheek, causing damage to your soft tissues, which would be very uncomfortable.
For most of our patients, the treatment time ranges from six months to two and a half years; this will depend on both the growth of the patient’s mouth or face and the severity of the orthodontic problem. We have found that patients respond differently to orthodontic treatment, in part to how their jaw and face grow. It is vital to the success of the braces that we use proper timing for each specific patient.
Orthodontic Treatment for Children
You may have heard that Orthodontists now want to see a child by age seven. This is not a way to extract more money from parents, but actually as a way to save it. There are ways that we can assist your child’s permanent teeth to come in straighter and with fewer problems. Early orthodontic treatment, between the ages of 7-9 is helpful to your child’s orthodontic health for two reasons: First, it can help your child avoid the need for extraction of any permanent teeth; and Secondly, we can correct dental or skeletal problems as we see them developing. Studies have proven that early orthodontic treatment stimulates the bone growth in the child’s jaws.
Your child will accomplish two-thirds of their overall jaw and facial growth in their early adolescence. We have found it to be very successful to take advantage of this growth time. Between the ages of 11-14, during your child’s rapid growth time, we have found that what we can accomplish in just 18 months of orthodontic treatment can do more than years of treatment after this time.
Early intervention in your child’s orthodontic care can mean:
Increasingly, there are options available in your orthodontic care. From pre-work such as spacers to brackets and wires and even clear aligners, your options have widely increased! In fact, this is a great time to wear braces! If you are concerned about orthodontic care based on the scary tales of the past, then let us alleviate those concerns.
You have choices. Our office offers braces that are metallic in color, and we also offer braces that are tooth colored or clear. Orthodontic wires used today use the latest in memory wire alloys, meaning they are less noticeable, they will move your teeth faster and with less discomfort.
Your orthodontic options include:
Traditional Metal Braces
We have all seen traditional metal braces, but the modern twist today includes smaller brackets and less noticeable wires. Traditional braces and ceramic braces offer Dr. Geoffrey Herzog and Dr. Kristin Fenwick the greatest control in adjusting your bite. The more severe cases will almost always require this form of braces.
Ceramic braces are designed to blend in with the color of your teeth. They are the same size and shape as traditional metal braces, but with tooth colored brackets and tooth-colored wires, they are designed to hide better in your mouth.
Lingual braces take those same metal brackets, but we place them on the backside of your teeth. This means that only you are aware of your braces, they are not seen by those you engage with day to day. This option is ideal to get dental work done discreetly but does limit some level of control, so we do not recommend this option in the more severe orthodontic cases.
Aligners, such as Clear Correct, are not braces but are clear acrylic aligners that are customized to move your teeth. The patient has a series of aligners created and then simply switches to the next one in the series every two weeks. This means fewer office visits. The trouble can come from user error of not wearing their device consistently. Invisalign is also not recommended for severe cases.
Taking Care of your Braces
Brushing, flossing and caring for your braces is necessary, but can be complicated. You will need to remove foods from your diet and use caution when eating. Patients are frequently frustrated with food getting stuck in their wires and brackets. You will have to take extra caution and consideration in the care of your braces. Brushing carefully, be sure to first brush along the gum line and then carefully around the bracket. When flossing, you may need to carefully thread the floss around the wire. Our team at Water's Edge Dental is happy to walk you through the care process and review the best steps for caring for your braces with you.