Orthodontic services are a specialized form of dentistry that focuses on correcting misaligned teeth and jaws. Orthodontists use a variety of techniques, from braces and Invisalign to retainers and headgear, to bring teeth and jaws into alignment. Orthodontic treatment can help to improve the appearance of a person’s smile, as well as improve the overall health of their mouth.
At Washington Dental, we provide comprehensive orthodontic services to help patients maintain beautiful smiles and perfect oral health. Our team of experienced and dedicated orthodontists in Carson specializes in assessing, diagnosing, and treating various dental issues, for people of all ages.
An Overview of Orthodontic Services
Orthodontic services involve the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of problems with the alignment of teeth and jaws. Orthodontists are specialized dentists who provide these services. Orthodontic treatment is used to correct problems such as crooked teeth, overbites, underbites, and crossbites. Orthodontic services may also help with issues such as speech problems and difficulty chewing. Orthodontic treatments involve the use of braces, retainers, and other orthodontic appliances.
Orthodontists use a variety of tools and techniques to diagnose and treat problems with the alignment of teeth and jaws. These include X-ray imaging, 3-D imaging, and computer-aided design (CAD). They may also use casts of the patient’s teeth to better analyze their alignment and develop a treatment plan. Orthodontists also work closely with dentists, oral surgeons, and other specialists to ensure that the treatment plan is comprehensive and effective.
Common Orthodontic Services
Common orthodontic services include:
Traditional braces are used to correct misaligned teeth, incorrect bite, and jaw problems. Misaligned teeth can be difficult to clean thus increasing the risk of cavities and gum disease. An incorrect bite can cause excessive wear on teeth and jaw pain, as well as a displeasing smile. Jaw problems can cause speech difficulties and difficulty in chewing. Braces can correct all of these issues, as well as improve the appearance of the smile.
Traditional braces are made up of brackets and wires. The brackets are bonded to the teeth and the wires are inserted into the brackets and tightened. This applies pressure to the teeth, which causes them to move into their proper position. The braces can be made of metal, ceramic, or plastic. Metal braces are the most common and are the least expensive option. Ceramic braces are less visible than metal braces but more expensive. Plastic braces are the least noticeable, but also the most expensive.
The length of time for braces treatment depends on the severity of the misalignment. However, it mainly takes one to two years for orthodontic braces to correct the problem. During the treatment, the patient will need to visit the orthodontist regularly for checkups and adjustments.
Note that braces can be uncomfortable, especially when the braces are first put on and during the adjustment visits. To alleviate discomfort, the patient may be given wax to place over the brackets and wires. The wax creates a barrier between the braces and the mouth, reducing discomfort.
Lingual braces are a type of orthodontic treatment used to improve the alignment of teeth and jaws. Unlike traditional braces, lingual braces are installed on the back side, or lingual side, of the teeth, making them virtually invisible from the front. Lingual braces are custom-made for each individual patient and are designed to provide maximum comfort and discreteness.
Lingual braces are made up of several components, including brackets, archwires, and elastics. The brackets are made of metal, ceramic, or a combination of the two and are bonded to the back side of each tooth. Archwires connect the brackets and provide the force needed to move the teeth. Elastics are used to provide additional force and are changed periodically.
Treatment with lingual braces takes between 12 to 18 months, depending on the severity of the case. During treatment, the patient will need to have regular follow-up visits with their orthodontist to monitor progress and make any adjustments as needed.
Lingual braces are well-suited for adults who want to improve their smile without the visibility of traditional braces. However, lingual braces may not be suitable for everyone. They require a higher level of oral hygiene and may not be the best option for patients with severe misalignment or bite problems.
Note that lingual braces can be more difficult to adjust than traditional braces. This is because the brackets are installed on the back side of the teeth, making adjustments more challenging. For this reason, an experienced orthodontist is essential when considering lingual braces.
Ceramic braces, also known as clear braces, are a popular orthodontic treatment option for people who are looking to straighten their teeth. Ceramic braces are similar to traditional metal braces, but they offer a more discreet look. Ceramic braces use tooth-colored brackets and clear or white wires to blend in with the natural color of your teeth.
Ceramic braces are made of high-grade ceramic material that is both durable and comfortable. The brackets are smaller and smoother than traditional metal braces and are designed to be less noticeable. The brackets are bonded to the front of the teeth and use the same force to move the teeth as metal braces. The wires are also made of ceramic and are less visible than metal wires.
Ceramic braces offer many benefits over traditional metal braces. The most common benefit is aesthetic appeal. The brackets and wires blend in with the color of your teeth, making them less visible than traditional metal braces. They also require less maintenance than metal braces, as ceramic braces are more resistant to staining and discoloration.
In addition to being more aesthetically pleasing, ceramic braces are also more comfortable than metal braces. The brackets and wires are smaller and smoother, so they are less likely to cause irritation to the gums and cheeks. Ceramic braces also require fewer adjustments, which means shorter and less frequent visits to the orthodontist.
The main disadvantage of ceramic braces is that they can be more expensive than traditional metal braces. The price of ceramic braces varies depending on the severity of your orthodontic case and the type of ceramic used. In addition, ceramic braces can take more time to move the teeth into the desired position than metal braces.
Self-ligating braces are an orthodontic treatment option that utilizes a bracket and archwire system to move teeth into proper alignment. Unlike traditional braces, self-ligating braces do not require elastic bands (or ligatures) to hold the archwire in place. Instead, self-ligating braces use a slide mechanism to hold the archwire in place. The benefits of using self-ligating braces include:
- Faster Treatment Time: The slide mechanism on self-ligating braces allows the archwire to move freely and adjust to the teeth more quickly. This results in faster treatment times, often reducing the amount of time spent in braces by at least a few months.
- Less Pain: Self-ligating braces place less pressure on the teeth and gums, resulting in less pain and discomfort.
- Improved Hygiene: The slide mechanism prevents food particles from becoming trapped in the brackets and archwire, making it easier to maintain good oral hygiene while wearing braces.
- Better Aesthetics: Self-ligating braces are smaller, flatter, and less noticeable than traditional braces. This makes them a popular choice for adults and teens who want a more aesthetically pleasing treatment option.
- Fewer Adjustments: With self-ligating braces, you will likely require fewer office visits for adjustments. This means fewer trips to the orthodontist, resulting in less inconvenience.
Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that uses clear, removable aligners to straighten teeth. It is an alternative to traditional braces and it is a preferred choice of orthodontic treatment for both adults and teens.
Invisalign is a series of clear, plastic aligners that are custom-molded to fit over your teeth. The aligners are designed to gradually move your teeth into the desired position. Each aligner is worn for two weeks, then replaced with a new aligner that further shifts your teeth into the desired position. The length of treatment depends on the severity of the misalignment but typically ranges from 6 months to 2 years.
Invisalign is an effective treatment option for a variety of dental problems. It can be used to correct overcrowding, underbite, crossbite, and open bite. It can also be used to straighten teeth that are crooked or have gaps between them.
Before beginning Invisalign treatment, your dentist will take x-rays and impressions of your teeth to create a treatment plan. You will then receive a series of custom-made aligners that you will need to wear for 22 hours a day. You will need to visit your dentist every 4-6 weeks to ensure that treatment is progressing as planned.
They are a great option for those who want to straighten their teeth without the hassle of metal braces. The aligners are virtually invisible, so no one can know you’re wearing them. They’re also comfortable and easy to remove, so you can eat, drink, and brush your teeth without any hassle.
A retainer is a removable orthodontic appliance that is used to maintain or correct the position of teeth. It is a custom-made appliance that is worn for a specified amount of time to preserve or adjust the alignment of teeth. Retainers may be prescribed to prevent existing teeth from shifting or to hold space for teeth that have been removed.
Retainers are made from a combination of metal wires and plastic and are designed to fit the patient’s mouth. The metal wires are bent into a custom shape that will keep the teeth in the desired position. Some retainers also contain a wire that runs along the back of the teeth to keep them in the proper alignment.
Retainers are worn from a few weeks to several months, depending on the severity of the patient’s orthodontic problem. During this time, patients should be careful to clean the retainer regularly to prevent bacteria from building up.
Retainers can also be used to correct minor misalignment of teeth, and can be used to maintain the desired results after braces have been removed. Retainers can be used to close gaps between teeth or to prevent teeth from shifting out of alignment.
Patients who wear retainers should be aware that they may cause some discomfort, especially when they are first put in. This is normal and should subside over time. If a patient experiences prolonged discomfort, they should contact their orthodontist for further advice.
Jaw Surgery, also known as Orthognathic surgery, is a dental procedure used to correct a wide range of skeletal and dental issues associated with the jaw and facial structures. This surgery is done to improve the functionality and aesthetics of the face and jaw.
Some of the common conditions that may benefit from jaw surgery include overbites, underbites, open bites, crossbites, and jaw misalignment.
Jaw surgery involves the repositioning of the upper or lower jaw to achieve a proper bite. This can be done by realigning the jawbones and rearranging them, and in some cases, adding grafts to enhance the jaw’s shape and size.
Depending on the severity of the condition, jaw surgery can be performed in one or multiple stages. The first step of the surgery is to create a precise plan for the repositioning of the jaw bones. This plan is usually created from a CT scan or 3D imaging of the jaw, which allows the surgeon to determine the exact measurements of the jaw, and the amount and direction of repositioning needed to achieve the desired result.
Once the plan is finalized, the surgeon then makes small incisions in the jaw and carefully cuts and moves the affected bones into the desired position. In some cases, metal plates, screws, and wires may be used to hold the bones in place until they heal. This process is known as maxillomandibular advancement.
The next step involves reshaping the jaw, which may involve trimming or adding bone and/or cartilage. This is done to improve the facial profile, improve the bite, and improve the look of the jawline.
Finally, the skin and muscles of the face are adjusted around the new jaw structure. This may involve removing excess skin and reshaping the skin and muscles to fit the new shape of the jaw.
After the surgery, the patient will be required to rest and wear a protective jaw splint for several weeks. During this time, the jaw will heal and the patient will be monitored for any complications. Once the jaw is fully healed, the patient can return to normal activities.
This is a type of orthodontic treatment that uses a device called a “headgear” to correct a wide range of dental issues. It can be used to correct malocclusion (misaligned teeth or jaws) and other orthodontic problems such as deep bites, open bites, crowding, and protruding teeth. The headgear is usually made of metal and consists of a strap that wraps around the head and is attached to metal braces or wires that are affixed to the back teeth.
Headgear orthodontics works by applying a gentle force to the teeth or jaw, which encourages them to move in a certain way. This force can either be continuous or intermittent, depending on the particular issue being treated. Headgear orthodontics is often recommended for children, as it can help to correct issues before they become more serious. It can also be used in adults, although it may take longer to see results.
For headgear orthodontics to be successful, the patient must follow the instructions of their orthodontist carefully. They may need to wear the headgear as directed to ensure that the treatment is effective. The patient should also follow a regular oral hygiene routine, which includes brushing and flossing their teeth at least twice a day. It is also important to maintain regular visits to the orthodontist to ensure that the treatment is progressing as planned.
The duration of headgear orthodontics varies depending on the severity of the issue being treated. It can take anywhere from six months to two years for the treatment to be complete. In some cases, headgear orthodontics may be combined with other orthodontic treatments, such as braces, to achieve the desired results.
Also known as rapid maxillary expanders, Palatal expanders are orthodontic appliances used to increase the width of the upper jaw. They are used in children to correct a crossbite, which occurs when the upper teeth sit too far back in the mouth compared to the lower teeth. Palatal expanders can also be used to create space for crowded teeth.
The palatal expander is a metal device that fits onto the upper molars. It consists of two halves that are connected by a screw in the middle. When the screw is turned, the two halves of the expander move apart, putting pressure on the palate and causing it to expand.
The process of fitting the palatal expander involves taking an impression of the child’s mouth to create a custom-fitted appliance. It is also important to check and adjust the device regularly to ensure it is working properly and to make sure the patient is not experiencing any pain or discomfort.
The palatal expander works by gently widening the upper jaw. This allows the teeth to move into better alignment and the jaw to grow wider. The amount of expansion depends on the patient’s individual needs and the amount of force that is applied to the appliance.
The effects of the palatal expander are not always permanent. In some cases, the jaw may return to its original width over time. To prevent this, the patient may need to wear a retainer after the treatment is complete. Retainers help to keep the jaw in its new, wider position.
Benefits of Orthodontic Services
Orthodontic services provide a wide range of benefits for patients, from improved aesthetics to improved oral health.
Below are some of the key benefits of orthodontic services.
- Improved Oral Health: Orthodontic services help to correct misaligned teeth and jaws, which can improve a person’s overall oral health. When teeth are properly aligned, it is easier to brush and floss, which helps to reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease. Orthodontic services can also help to reduce the risk of tooth decay and other oral health problems.
- Enhanced Appearance: Orthodontic services can help to improve the appearance of the teeth and the overall facial structure. It can help to straighten the teeth, reduce gaps and overcrowding, and improve the overall appearance of the smile.
- Increased Self-Confidence: Having a beautiful, healthy smile can significantly boost self-confidence. Since orthodontic services help to improve the appearance of the teeth and jaw, they can help to make a person feel more confident in their smile.
- Improved Oral Function: Orthodontic services can help to improve the way the teeth and jaw function. For instance, it can help to improve the way a person bites and chews, which can help to make eating and speaking more comfortable.
- Reduced Risk of Injury: Misaligned teeth and jaws can make it more difficult to properly protect the teeth and mouth from injury. Orthodontic services can help to reduce the risk of injury by correcting misalignment and improving the overall structure of the teeth and jaw.
- Reduced Risk of Gum Disease and Tooth Decay: Because of the improved alignment of the teeth and jaws, it is easier to keep them clean and free of plaque and tartar buildup. Orthodontic treatments can also help reduce the risk of TMJ disorders, which can cause pain and discomfort in the jaw joint.
Find an Orthodontist Near Me
At Washington Dental, we offer a wide range of treatments for patients of all ages. We provide a variety of braces, aligners, and other appliances to help improve patients' smiles. We also take a holistic approach to treatment and put into consideration a patient's overall health and lifestyle when developing a treatment plan. Call us today at 310-217-1507 if you are looking for a reliable orthodontist in Carson, CA.