Orthodontics, which more than just braces, is a special area of dentistry which deals with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities caused by crooked, crowded or protruding teeth, or poorly aligned jaws.

When you or your child has any of these problems, it is called a malocclusion. We treat and correct these problems with various orthodontic appliances. You may consider appliances for yourself or your child for several good reasons.

  • One of the primary reasons is that crooked, crowded teeth are difficult to keep clean and healthy.
  • In addition, poor fit of the teeth makes it difficult to chew food and can cause improper wear of the teeth.
  • But, a pleasing smile and improved self-confidence may be the most important reasons for you and/or your child to consider orthodontic treatment.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends children receive an orthodontic evaluation by the age of seven. The orthodontist will then be able to screen the patient for any developing skeletal malformations. Early interceptive treatment can help minimize these problems before they require more extensive treatment.

Treatment time ranges between 6 months to 2 1/2 years depending on the complexity of the problem. Comprehensive active treatment takes approximately 2 years.

Orthodontic appliances for Young Children, Teenagers & Adults

  • Palatal expander - gently widens a small jaw to make room for crowded teeth (young children, teenagers)
  • Habit Corrector - helps stop thumb-sucking, tongue-thrusting (a swallowing habit), or mouth-breathing
  • Removable functional appliance - guides growing jaw into position and teaches chewing muscles to bite properly (young children, teenagers)
  • Fixed sagittal appliance - helps influence the growth of the jaws and muscles (young children, teenagers)
  • Headgear - removable appliance to help influence the growth of the jaws (young children, teenagers)
  • Braces - bonded attachments that move teeth into alignment (young children, teenagers, adults). Selections include:
    • Aesthetic stainless steel braces
    • Self-ligating braces
    • Ceramic - clear, aesthetic braces
    • Gold braces
    • Glow in the dark braces
  • Retainer - used for minor tooth movement. Also, stabilizes teeth in their new positions (young children, teenagers, adults)
  • Invisalign® - clear aligners that move teeth into alignment (teenagers, adults)
  • Nightguard - protects the teeth from bruxism (teeth grinding) or clenching.
  • Mouthguard - protects the teeth and jaw during sports activities
  • Splint - helps treat TMJ disorders (teenager, adults)

Sometimes appliances alone are not sufficient to correct a complex problem. Other options such as extractions and orthognathic surgery may be necessary.

Visit the official website of the AAO (American Association of Orthodontists) to obtain additional information.