• Treatment page artwork for Orthodontist Dr. W. L. Lewis

TREATMENT

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Early Treatment

It is never too late to begin orthodontic treatment, but sometimes early treatment is better than late treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends the first orthodontic screening by the age of 7 years old. Why is this screening so important?

This early screening allows the orthodontist to get baseline information about your child’s growth and development. This information is gathered and often is not followed by early treatment, but is used to monitor your child’s growth patterns over time. It will allow the orthodontic team to choose the best time to start treatment for your child. Early treatment will be recommended if it is the most efficient way to:

  • Guide jaw growth
  • Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
  • Correct harmful oral habits
  • Improve appearance and self esteem
  • Guide permanent teeth into a more favorable position
  • Improve the way the lips meet

Adult Treatment

It’s never too late to move healthy teeth.
Today, one orthodontic patient in five is an adult. You’re never too old to benefit from orthodontic treatment. No matter what your age, proper alignment of teeth contributes to your good health and a beautiful smile.

Maintaining dental health
Leaving misaligned teeth untreated may lead to other dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease, as well as abnormal wearing of tooth enamel and difficulty in chewing. Orthodontic treatment can contribute to good dental health.

Advances in orthodontics have made treatment more comfortable and more successful than ever for people of all ages. Orthodontists work with other dental practitioners – general dentists, periodontists, prosthodontists, oral surgeons – to provide a comprehensive approach to your dental health.

Looking good
Orthodontic treatment can correct crooked teeth or spaces that you’ve been self-conscious about for years. It can give you the confidence and pride that come with straight teeth and a great smile.

Is orthodontic treatment effective for adults?
Yes. Age is not a consideration when it comes to orthodontic treatment. Healthy teeth can be moved successfully at any age. Orthodontic treatment creates a better bite, making teeth fit better, and decreases the risk of future dental problems regardless of age.

Can I get an appliance that is less noticeable?
Thanks to the variety of “appliances” (such as clear aligners and various bracket types) used by orthodontists, adults may be able to inconspicuously achieve the great smile they want. Many of today’s treatment options are designed to minimize the appearance of the appliance and better fit an adult lifestyle. Ask your orthodontist about treatment options that are appropriate for you.

Will orthodontic treatment fit my lifestyle?
Certainly. You can do almost anything during orthodontic treatment – sing, play a musical instrument, dine out, kiss, and even have your picture taken. Some temporary adjustments will be necessary, but if you’re like the vast majority of adult patients, you’ll adapt quickly.

Am I a good fit for orthodontic treatment?
A consultation with an orthodontist will determine if you can benefit from treatment. After carefully analyzing the nature of your orthodontic problem, your orthodontist can recommend how you can achieve a healthy and beautiful smile.

I’m missing some teeth. Can orthodontic treatment improve my bite?
Whether you are planning to replace missing teeth or not, you may benefit from a consultation with an orthodontist. If replacements for missing teeth are planned, an orthodontist can help keep the necessary space open. If no replacements are planned, an orthodontist may be able to stabilize your teeth so that shifting does not occur or is minimized. Your orthodontist will work with your dentist or dental specialist to achieve the best result.

How often will I need to come in for appointments?
Advances in today’s orthodontic materials mean patients see the orthodontist only about once every six weeks during active treatment.

Does orthodontic treatment hurt?
New techniques and materials today have made orthodontic treatment more comfortable than ever. Discomfort, if any, is short-lived and can be managed using over-the-counter analgesics.

I’ve been treated for gum disease. Can I have orthodontic treatment?
Your orthodontist will need to consult with your dentist and/or periodontist about the health of your gums. If you are a candidate for orthodontic treatment, you will continue regular visits with your dentist and/or periodontist. For many patients, proper tooth alignment can contribute to healthy gums.

How much does treatment cost?
The cost of orthodontic treatment depends on many factors, including the severity of the problem, its complexity and length of treatment. Your orthodontist will be glad to discuss fees with you before treatment begins.

Many patients find that orthodontic treatment is more affordable today than ever. Most orthodontists offer a variety of convenient payment plans. Employers may offer dental insurance plans with orthodontic benefits, and/or the option to set aside pre-tax dollars in a flexible spending account or other health savings account.

Why select an orthodontist?
Orthodontists are dental specialist who diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities. They receive an additional two to three years of specialized education beyond dental school to learn the proper way to align and straighten teeth. Only those who successfully complete this formal education may call themselves “orthodontists”, and only orthodontists may be members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO).

Invisalign®

Invisalign® takes a modern approach to straightening teeth, using a custom-made series of aligners created for you and only you. These aligner trays are made of smooth, comfortable and virtually invisible plastic that you wear over your teeth. Wearing the aligners will gradually and gently shift your teeth into place, based on the exact movements your orthodontist plans out for you. There are no metal brackets to attach and no wires to tighten. You just pop in a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks, until your treatment is complete. You’ll achieve a great smile with little interference in your daily life. The best part about the whole process is that most people won’t even know you’re straightening your teeth.

Retention

The retention phase of your orthodontic treatment begins when your braces are removed. We will ask you to wear your retainers full-time, at first. Eventually, you will go to night time only. Maintaining your final result will depend on your retainer wear. If you do not wear your retainers, your teeth will move.

Retainer Instructions

  • Wear your retainers full time, until the doctor instructs otherwise.
  • Take your retainers out when eating and always put retainers in their case! (Most appliances are lost in school lunchrooms or restaurants)
  • Clean retainers thoroughly once a day with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Use warm but not hot water. Brushing retainers removes the plaque, and eliminates odors. Efferdent or other orthodontic appliance cleaners can be used but do not take the place of brushing.
  • When retainers are not in your mouth they should ALWAYS be in a retainer case. Pets love to chew on them!
  • Initially, you may find it difficult to speak. Practice speaking, reading, or singing out loud to get use to them faster.
  • Retainers are breakable, so treat them with care. If retainers are lost or broken, call us immediately.
  • If you have any questions or concerns about your retainers, or your retainers need adjusting, call us. Do not try to adjust them yourself.
  • Always bring your retainers to your appointments.
  • Retainer replacement is expensive; with proper care they will last for years!
  • Remove retainers when swimming.
  • Keep retainers away from hot water, hot car dashboards, pockets, the washing machine and napkins.

Orthognathic Surgery

Sometimes orthodontic treatment alone will not correct the abnormalities of the facial bones and teeth. In some cases, corrective jaw surgery (orthognathic surgery) may be required due to the severity of the skeletal problem. These abnormalities may cause problems chewing, talking, sleeping and other normal functions or activities. Orthognathic surgery will help address these problems and improve the overall function and appearance.

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