Welcome to Make a Smile Orthodontics!
At Make a Smile Orthodontics, your child’s smile is in great hands! Our friendly and knowledgeable staff work with both children and parents to ensure GREAT orthodontic service. We are dedicated to the correction of youth and adolescent dental irregularities through the use of our personalized, friendly service and state of the art orthodontic facility and treatment plans. We offer both interceptive and preventative orthodontics, tailoring treatments to suit your individual growing child’s needs.
Many adults never received orthodontic treatment as a child. Others have seen their previously straight teeth relapse over time. Whatever the reason, orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. One out of every five patients in orthodontic treatment is over the age of 21. The advancements of orthodontic treatment has given orthodontists new techniques and appliances that allow for a quicker, more comfortable treatment plan for adolescents and adults. Adults are excited about the clear aligners and clear brackets. These alternatives give patients the opportunity to choose which orthodontic option will fit their lifestyle best.
Kids and Parents Orthodontics
The Parent’s and Children Together program is unique to Make a Smile Orthodontics. This program allows parents to become directly involved by undergoing their own orthodontic procedures right beside their child, becoming their treatment partner.
What to Expect at an Orthodontic Consultation
The first consultation will be used to determine the best course of treatment using a clinical examination; this may include x-rays. We encourage you to take this time to get to know our highly trained orthodontist by asking questions and letting them know any of your concerns, which will also help them come up with the best treatment plan.
What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontists are highly-trained dentists who have been certified to diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities. Only 6% of dentists have continued through the orthodontic graduate program from an accredited American Dental Association school.
Orthodontics fix problems like crooked, crowded teeth or facial and oral deformities of the mouth that could have a direct effect on you or your child’s health. Orthodontics can greatly enhance a person’s self-esteem by giving them an attractive, confident smile.
- Malaligned front or back teeth
- Off centered bite
- Crooked front teeth or protruding teeth
- Excessive gapping of front teeth
- Finger or thumb sucking after the age of 5
- Speech difficulty
- Mouth breathing
- Biting on the cheek or roof of mouth
- Difficulty biting or chewing
Why See an Orthodontist?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children should get their first orthodontic evaluation no later than the age of 7. The advantage of early treatment is that child growth, which is rapid, can be monitored and utilized to optimize the child’s care and treatment plan. Guiding growth and development can prevent serious problems later on in life and can avoid more costly, invasive measures.
The pulp is important during a tooth’s growth and development. However, once a tooth is fully mature it can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it. After endodontic therapy the patient will no longer feel any pain in that tooth because the nerve tissue has been removed and the infection has been eradicated.
Early phase treatment versus traditional orthodontic treatment is sometimes a hard choice to make as a parent. Your dentist at Make a Smile can help determine whether an early or traditional approach is best for you and your child. Early detection and treatment of an orthodontic problem can help influence your child’s jaw and mouth growth. Phase 2 orthodontics is often used to straighten teeth; however a second phase of braces is sometimes not needed and treatment time is greatly reduced when a child’s jaw is allowed to develop to its full potential with the use of early, Phase 1 treatment.
Our dentists are trained to detect early signs of orthodontic problems. Early phase intervention may need to be initiated as early as 4 years old, although most children begin between the ages of 7 and 9, and the American Association of Orthodontists suggests that children be evaluated no later than 7 years of age or at the first sign of problems.
Taking advantage of early Phase 1 treatment means your child’s growth can be monitored and utilized to optimize care. Guiding growth and development can prevent serious problems later on in life, such as creating room for crowded teeth to reduce the need for tooth removal.
Phase 2 treatment is more common and consists of straightforward orthodontics for adolescents and adults with erupted permanent teeth. Traditional orthodontics can be initiated any time after age 12. With the use of braces and other appliances, the permanent teeth are adjusted to a straighter position in the mouth, reducing discomfort and health problems associated with misaligned teeth, as well as creating a lasting cosmetic effect.
Types of Braces
Braces have advanced leaps and bounds in the last 20 years, offering patients with a more tailored approach to orthodontics. Please discuss with your orthodontist which treatment is best for your child.
Traditional braces are the most commonly used for children. They are designed with a small bracket that is adhered to the front of the tooth. These brackets can be made of metal, ceramic (clear/white) and gold. The ligatures (or bands) attached to the brackets help to guide the teeth to the proper position.
Retainers are a very important part of your treatment plan. A retainer is often used after you have had braces, aligners or other orthodontic appliances as a way to maintain the progress of the treatment plan. It is important that the patient continue to maintain their retention regimen to optimize a timely recovery.
There are three basic things you should know about retainers:
- Wear them as directed – A retainer can only work if you wear it. Remember, wearing your retainer is going to keep your smile beautiful.
- Keep it clean – whether it is removal or fixed, keeping your retainer clean is key to a healthy smile. Also, it is important that you continue your regular 6 mouth check up and cleaning.
- Handle them with care – you will need to take out your retainer from time to time, when you eat or if you are only supposed to wear it part of the day. It if very easy to damage or lose your retainer, so remember – if it’s not in your mouth… it’s in the case.
Invisalign is rapidly growing in popularity. The first design was created by Align and consists of a clear plastic brace with changeable trays or “aligners” that are customized for the patient. This treatment is not recommended for young children, however is regularly used for teenagers and adults with mild orthodontic problems.
Here are a few things to know about appliances:
- Separators are small elastic rings that are placed in-between teeth. The separator is used to push the molars apart using slight pressure. The separator is usually used for 1-2 weeks and is said to feel like a piece of meat stuck in your teeth.
- Elastics, or rubber bands, create pressure that will help to improve the fit of your teeth. Elastics may need to be changed throughout the day as the elasticity wears.
- Herbst Appliance is used to promote a correct relationship between the upper and the lower jaw, when the lower jaw is too far back relative to the upper jaw.
- Headgear uses the skull as an anchor in moving teeth and dental bones. Typically headgear is worn for only a limited time during the day and throughout night time, as determined by your orthodontist.
- Palatal Expander applies gentle pressure to the teeth or palate to help widen the upper jaw. An expander can be removable in design or glued temporarily in place.
- Holding Appliances are used in children to maintain space while waiting for permanent teeth to come in.
- Thumb/Tongue Cribs is used as a reminder device to help stop patients from harmful thumb/finger sucking or excessive tongue pressure habits. These habits are known to cause a distortion of dental arches and palate and an undesireable movement of teeth.
Handling Orthodontic Issues at Home
While there are steps you can take to temporarily fix or alleviate discomfort and prevent additional damage, our office should always be notified if you’re having to address Orthodontic issues at home.
Tools + Supplies
With these tools and supplies on hand, you will be prepared to handle the most common orthodontic issues
- Orthodontic relief wax
- Dental floss
- Disinfected tweezers
- Interproximal brush
- Non-prescription pain reliever (acetaminophen or ibuprofen)
- Topical Anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel)
An “O” ring is the tiny rubber band or sometimes a very thin wire (ligature), that holds the orthodontic wire in the bracket/brace. If a rubber o-ring should come off, you may be able to put it back in place using disinfected tweezers. If a wire ligature comes loose, simply remove it with the tweezers. If the wire ligature is sticking out into the lip but is not loose, it may be bent back down with a Q-tip or pencil eraser to eliminate the irritation.
It’s normal to have some discomfort during orthodontic treatment as your teeth move however it should not last longer than a couple days. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water and over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, may alleviate some discomfort. If the discomfort lasts longer than a couple days, be sure to call our office to discuss.
Some patients are susceptible to episodes of mouth sores. While braces do not cause them, they may be precipitated or exacerbated by an irritation from braces. One or several areas of ulceration of the cheeks, lips or tongue may appear. This is not an emergency but may be very uncomfortable. Prompt relief may be achieved by applying a small amount of topical anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel) directly to the ulcerated surface using a cotton swab – reapply as needed. If after a couple days the discomfort does not resolve, call our office to discuss.
Irritation in Mouth
Sometimes braces or wires can be irritating to the mouth, especially when eating. A small amount of orthodontic relief wax makes an excellent buffer between metal and mouth. Simply pinch off a small piece and roll it into a ball the size of a small pea. Flatten the ball and place it completely over the area of the braces causing irritation. Wax can be purchased at any drug store if you are unable to get some from our office.
Occasionally the end of a wire will work itself out of place and can irritate the mouth. Use a Q-tip or clean tweezer and try to push the wire so that it is flat against the tooth. If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, cover it with relief wax.
Loose Braces or Bands
If the braces or bands have come loose in any way, call our office to determine appropriate next steps.