Tag Archives: orthodontic braces

Early Orthodontic Treatment

Your Child’s First Orthodontic Visit:

It’s Earlier Than You May Think

Learn about the best time for your child’s first orthodontic exam in order to give your kiddo the opportunity for a healthy smile during the developmental years and beyond.

Oral health is essential to overall health, and we don’t just mean positive oral hygiene habits. Proper tooth alignment, a correct bite and a healthy smile are central to childhood self-esteem, clear speech and an easy time breathing and sleeping. A qualified orthodontist will not only ensure the health and appearance of your child’s smile early on but also can identify irregularities in the teeth, jaws and face, to offer early corrective options that shorten treatment time in the long-run.

So when is the best time for an appointment? It’s important to take your child to see the orthodontist when his or her permanent teeth are starting to grow in. This age varies since every child is different. Most orthodontic exams and treatments begin for kids around age seven and should definitely happen no later than age nine.  By the time he or she is past adolescence, their bones have already set in place. While it’s not impossible to seek orthodontic care after this time, it’s certainly more difficult to bring the muscles and teeth into harmony with the rest of the face at that point.

The orthodontists and general dentists of Advanced Family Dental and Orthodontics, PC can assess your child’s needs during the first consultation. Concerns such as crowding, large spacing, problematic facial growth and bad habits, such as thumb-sucking, cheek-biting, or tongue-thrusting are also taken into consideration. Then, the doctor will develop your child’s individualized treatment plan.

Our orthodontists and general dentists are trained in the latest methods and employ the newest technology. For your convenience we are located in Crest Hill, Frankfort, Lockport, Lombard, Mt. Olive, Naperville, Plainfield, Romeoville and Westmont, IL. We provide flexible scheduling including early and late appointment times. Advanced Family Dental and Orthodontics, PC accepts most insurance plans. We also accept the medical card for braces on children who qualify. Call us today to see if your child is covered at 815-534-2434, or schedule a free consultation by clicking here.

 

Orthodontics could be the Smile Transformer you’ve been looking for

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When designing your new smile, we have a lot of options for changing how individual teeth look: from whitening discolored teeth to replacing missing teeth with life-like dental implants. But the problem may not be how your teeth look — in fact, individually they may look perfect. If they’re not straight, though, your smile won’t be as attractive as it could be.

We can address a poor bite (malocclusion) through the dental specialty of orthodontics. By moving misaligned teeth we may be able to transform your smile without any other dental work, or it could serve as a more solid foundation for other cosmetic enhancements. To find out if orthodontics can make a difference for you, you should begin with an initial visit to your general dentist. A thorough dental examination will enable them to tell you if correcting your bite could be a good option for you. If it is, they’ll most likely refer you to an orthodontist, a specialist in treating malocclusions.

The orthodontist will also perform their own evaluation and get as complete a picture as possible of your particular bite problems. This examination will also include checking jaw growth and development in younger patients, how the affected teeth align with other teeth, and if your current bite is having any effect on the jaw joints. This will provide a good overview of not only the malocclusion but how it affects the rest of your mouth.

With this detailed analysis, they can then advise you on the best course of treatment. Most malocclusions can be corrected with braces or, increasingly, clear aligner trays. In certain situations, though, more specialized approaches may be needed, such as isolating only certain teeth for movement.

While orthodontic treatment takes time and can be expensive, the end result can be amazing: an improved bite that not only enhances your appearance but improves function and long-term health. Along with other cosmetic enhancements to your teeth and gums, orthodontics can give you a new sense of confidence in your smile.

If you would like more information on improving your smile with orthodontic treatment, please contact us by calling (815) 741-1700 for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Magic of Orthodontics.”

Effective Oral Hygiene is Key to Disease Prevention While Wearing Braces

braces hygiene.

While braces are a tried and true method for achieving a more attractive smile, they may also give rise to problems with dental disease. This is because their hardware — the brackets and bands that serve as tracks for the tensioning wires — make it more difficult to access the tooth and gum surfaces to clean away plaque. This thin film of food remnant may then become a haven for bacteria that cause gum disease or tooth decay.

One of the more common conditions to occur while wearing braces is gingivitis. This is an initial inflammation of the gum tissues caused by bacterial plaque that hasn’t been removed by brushing or flossing. As the inflammation grows unchecked, the infection could advance deeper into the tissues to become a more serious form of gum disease that threatens the survival of affected teeth.

Difficult as it may be for those wearing braces, the best way to avoid gingivitis is through more thorough oral hygiene practices. Fortunately, there are many hygiene products that can help you get around many of the access difficulties posed by braces. Smaller toothbrushes known as interproximal brushes and floss threaders, small aids that thread dental floss under braces wires, can access the spaces between teeth more readily than conventional brushes or floss. Water flossers (which use water under pressure to remove plaque between teeth) and motorized toothbrushes can further increase efficiency. We can also reduce bacterial growth in the mouth if need be with prescription-strength antibacterial mouthrinses.

If, however, gingivitis or gum overgrowth (another common occurrence during orthodontic treatment) continues to be a problem, we may need to take other actions including surgery. In extreme cases, the braces may need to be removed to adequately treat the gums and allow them time to heal before proceeding with orthodontics.

Extra care with daily hygiene and regular dental checkups and cleanings in addition to your orthodontic visits will help keep gum problems at bay while you’re wearing braces. Taking this extra care will stop or minimize the effect of disease as you continue on to the ultimate goal of your orthodontic treatment — a more beautiful smile.

If you would like more information on dental care during orthodontic treatment, please contact us by calling (815) 741-1700 for a consultation.

Straightening Your Child’s Teeth: When is the best time to start?

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All parents want their child to have an attractive smile and good strong healthy teeth; but it may be difficult for parents to know if their young children’s teeth are coming in the way they should. Parents may not know that it is also important that the upper and lower jaws need to be in proper alignment for a properly functioning bite.

As a child’s permanent teeth come in, the teeth may be too crowded, or they may have spaces between them that are too large. They can have protruding teeth, extra or missing teeth, or problems with jaw growth. Sometimes children have malocclusions (“mal” – bad; “occlusion” – bite) that were caused by thumb sucking or other problems. If you wait to seek treatment until all of the child’s permanent teeth have come in, and facial and jaw growth are nearly complete, correction of problems will be more difficult and the potential to encourage jaw growth in a positive direction may be lost.

When a little can go a long way

Whether a malocclusion is obvious or not it is important to have an orthodontic evaluation at an early age. Experts advise having an orthodontic evaluation some time before the age of 7. At 7, a child’s permanent (adult) teeth have begun to come in but they still have some primary (baby) teeth left. If necessary, it’s a good time to intercept and make a big difference for a little treatment.

Treatment that begins while a child’s teeth are erupting or coming in, is called “interceptive orthodontics.” It provides an opportunity for the best results in orthodontic treatment. It can also include working with the child’s facial growth and jaw development to assure that the upper and lower jaws align together effectively. It can often be done with simple removable appliances rather than full braces.

Orthodontics (“ortho” – straight; “odont” – tooth) is a sub-specialty of dentistry that is devoted to the study and treatment of malocclusions. Your general or pediatric dentist may recommend that our child consult with an orthodontist. Orthodontists are dentists who specialize in the growth and development of the teeth and jaws, as well as directing proper growth by moving the teeth into correct position.

Come to see us early for an orthodontic evaluation, while it’s still easy to make a big improvement in your child’s future smile.

Contact us by calling (815) 741-1700 today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about orthodontia in children. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Early Orthodontic Evaluation.” Or the article “The Magic of Orthodontics.”

A Clear Alternative for Adult Orthodontic Treatment

clear aligners.

It’s a fact that everything in life changes. Tooth alignment is no exception. Even if you were blessed as a child with perfectly positioned pearly whites or achieved them thanks to successful orthodontic therapy, with the passage of time, you may be noticing more space between some teeth and more crowding among others. Perhaps you’ve considered doing something about it, but discounted the idea out of concern for the potential personal and/or professional impact of wearing traditional metal braces. If that is the case, then Invisalign clear orthodontic aligners may be a solution.

This treatment uses a series of transparent plastic aligners — each slightly different than the one that precedes it — which you wear for about 22 hours a day. About every two weeks, you “graduate” to the next aligner in the progression (or set of aligners if your treatment involves both the upper and lower teeth) as your teeth are gently shifted into the improved final positioning. Besides being practically invisible when worn, aligners can be removed for eating, drinking, social events and brushing and flossing — a clear advantage over traditional braces, which are cemented in place. They’re also comfortable because there are no rough edges or wires. Total treatment time ranges from 6 months to two years, depending on the degree of movement required.

The main consideration in determining whether clear aligners can work for you is the type and extent of movement required. The system is most effective when crowding or spacing of teeth is mild to moderate, and ideally, you should already have a good “bite” — i.e., your back teeth fit together properly. When crowding or spacing is more severe, or if your bite is off and your upper and lower jaws don’t meet well, traditional braces may be the better treatment option. Certain movements are more difficult and less predictable with clear aligners — such as closing extraction spaces, uprighting teeth, and rotating, torqueing or other complex movements.

Dental health can also be a factor for adult patients. Gum disease, which is more prevalent as we age, can lead to the loss of tooth-supporting bone. Orthodontic treatment works by moving teeth within the supporting bone, and can aggravate bone loss. Bone loss isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, but active gum disease must be brought under control before orthodontic treatment can proceed. Certain medical conditions elsewhere in the body may preclude treatment and drugs used for arthritis or osteoporosis can make tooth movement more difficult.

Our office can perform an assessment to determine whether you are a good candidate for clear aligners. Although change is inevitable, it can work to your advantage when it comes to orthodontic treatment!

If you would like more information about clear orthodontic aligners, please contact us by calling (815) 741-1700 or request a consultation appointment online. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Orthodontics For The Older Adult” and “Clear Orthodontic Aligners.”


Faith Hill Wears Her Braces Proudly

faith hill.

When she stepped on stage at the recent Grammy Awards ceremony, country music star Faith Hill made a stunning impression: She had a black gown by J. Mendel, a Bottega Veneta clutch, shoes by Tom Ford, a handsome man standing beside her (her husband, fellow country star Tim McGraw)… and a big smile that showcased her new braces.

The 45-year-old songstress didn’t seem the least bit shy about flashing the orthodontic appliances, which had been placed on her teeth just a few months before. In fact, she joins a growing list of adult celebrities — and regular folks too — who know that it’s never too late to get the smile you’ve always wanted.

If you thought that braces are just for kids, you may be surprised to learn that today, around two in ten orthodontic patients are grown-ups. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Research shows that the incidence of bite problems (malocclusions) in adults is comparable to that of children and adolescents: That means perhaps three-quarters of adults have a condition that could benefit from orthodontic treatment.

Why would an adult choose to have orthodontic treatment? One reason is for its potential health benefits. Misaligned teeth are often much harder to clean properly, and poor oral hygiene can pave the way for gum disease and tooth decay.

Another reason is to enhance your career prospects… and your social life. Several studies have indicated that orthodontic treatment can increase self-confidence, and even improve career opportunities. Plus, a recent survey found that having good teeth was the #1 criterion by which both men and women rate the attractiveness of potential partners. So there are plenty of reasons to get treatment.

If you haven’t looked closely at orthodontic appliances since you were a kid, you might also be surprised at how far the technology has progressed. Fixed appliances — that is, traditional metal braces — are still the “gold standard” for treating moderate to complex bite problems. But even all-metal braces are smaller than they used to be, because the small brackets that hold the arch wire are now bonded to the teeth with special adhesives, instead of always being fastened with wide metal bands.

For those seeking a less-obvious alternative to traditional braces, it’s often possible to use translucent (tooth-colored) brackets instead of metal ones. That’s the treatment of choice for many celebrities like Tom Cruise — and Faith Hill. They’re a lot harder to notice than the all-metal type, and some find they fit better with their self-image.

In some cases, it may even be possible to opt for “lingual” braces, which are placed on the tongue side of the teeth. They offer an alternative that’s truly invisible — only you will know they’re there.

Finally, if your bite problems are mild to moderate, you may be able to get good treatment results from Invisalign clear aligners. These are a series of transparent plastic “trays” that fit over your teeth and gradually move them into a better position. They’re designed to be worn for 22 hours a day, but they can be removed for important occasions — like award speeches.

So if your smile — or your life — could use some perking up, take a tip from stars like Faith Hill: Don’t let the fact that you’re an adult stop you from getting orthodontic treatment. As the singer recently tweeted, “I’ve seen your posts and the news coverage on my braces… woah!! Wear your braces proudly.”

If you would like more information about orthodontic treatment for adults, please contact us by calling (815) 741-1700 to schedule an appointment for a consultation or request your appointment online. You can also read the Dear Doctor article “The Magic of Orthodontics.”