Your first visit at our office is very important in establishing your orthodontic baseline. Dr. Fiorenti will perform a complete oral examination which includes an analysis of your malocclusion and a thorough examination of your teeth, oral musculature and possible skeletal deformity. We will also perform a thorough radiographic analysis of panoramic and cephalometric x-rays as well as a photographic analysis. Any etiological factors such as poor oral habits will also be evaluated.
Historically, most patients did not commence orthodontic treatment until all of their permanent teeth had erupted and then had a malocclusion diagnosed and addressed at the age of about 12-14. Waiting this long often necessitated the extraction of several permanent teeth in order to create space for orthodontic movement. More extensive movement necessitated the use of headgear and other orthodontic appliances. It was noted that teen cooperation in wearing such appliances was often problematic.
Interceptive orthodontics is a technique and philosophy which was developed to address certain orthodontic problems between the ages of 7-11.This early intervention and phased treatment can result in fewer extracted teeth and better patient compliance.
Some of the techniques used in this interceptive orthodontic phase include arch expansion, which allows more room for permanent teeth and orthopedic growth appliances which enhance jaw growth and make later orthodontic treatment much simpler.
These early interventions act as Phase 1 of a two step orthodontic treatment. Phase 2 will occur closer to the time when standard orthodontics generally takes place. Interceptive orthodontic techniques will allow Phase 2 of the treatment to become simpler, shorter and less extensive than it otherwise would have been.
The goal of orthodontics is to correct a malocclusion – a bad bite. Teeth may be crowded or crooked or the upper and lower jaws may be out of alignment. Occasionally, even when teeth appear straight, the patient may have a bite which is not even and which may be causing further dental problems.
Malocclusions may be inherited familialy, may be developmental or may be caused by poor oral habits such as thumb sucking or tongue thrusting.
Orthodontic treatment seeks to address any or all of these problems. The goal of orthodontic treatment is not only to create an attractive smile, but to develop a bite which can promote oral health. Straight, uncrowded teeth are a lot easier to keep clean. Crooked, crowded teeth are much more difficult to maintain and can lead to tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Orthodontics utilizes physics to slowly move teeth into the proper position. This is performed by using corrective appliances, including braces and retainers. Brackets are placed on the teeth using bonding technology. Arch wires are then threaded through these brackets . The tension and tightness of these wires determines the individual movement of each tooth. Orthodontics applies constant pressure on each tooth in a desired direction. By making adjustment to the pressure at follow up visits, our orthodontists control the slow movement of the teeth until the malocclusion is corrected. Generally speaking, orthodontic treatment can last from one to three years or longer depending on the patient's age and severity of the malocclusion. Retainers are often worn to help ensure teeth remain in their new position after braces have been removed.
Chronic jaw clenching and grinding one’s teeth is called bruxism. While it can happen any time of day, it often occurs at night causing an individual to wake up with any number of symptoms including jaw pain, headaches, and sore teeth that may feel loose. Although, stress and anxiety are the most common causes of bruxism there may be other contributing factors such as a sleep disorder, an abnormal bite, as well as teeth that are missing or poorly aligned.
To alleviate the symptoms of bruxism, wearing a night guard while sleeping is frequently recommended. This appliance is designed to fit over the teeth and to keep the jaws slightly apart. Wearing a night guard prevents a number of damaging events including muscle strain, excessive pressure on the jaw joint (the TMJ), and such dental damage as chipped or cracked teeth resulting from the teeth grinding against each other.
In addition to preventing damage to the soft and hard tissues surrounding the orofacial cavity, a custom night guard fabricated at the dental office can help curb a bruxism habit and give the wearer a better night’s sleep.
Every year millions of cases of dental and facial injuries occur as the result of sport-related trauma. While all sports have some risk of oral injury, it is especially prevalent in recreational activities that involve frequent body contact with other players or the ground, as well as the possibility of being struck by other objects such as, balls, bats, or sticks.
One way to significantly reduce the risk of damage to your teeth, cheeks, lips, tongue, face, or jaw as the result of a sports-related injury is to wear a mouthguard. A mouthguard is a removable appliance made of a sturdy plastic that sits comfortably over your teeth. Typically, mouthguards are designed to cover just the top teeth but may also be fabricated to include the lower teeth as well depending on your particular situation. Individuals who wear braces or have some types of dental work may require a specific type of mouthguard that provides more coverage.
There are three types of sports mouthguards on the market, including pre-formed and ready to wear stock mouthguards, boil and bite mouthguards, and custom mouthguards fabricated by your dentist. Our office will help you to select just the right sports mouthguard to protect your smile. While the first two choices offer some level of protection, the best and most comfortable mouthguards to safeguard your smile are the ones individually designed and customized by your dentist.
We are pleased to offer our patients The Damon® System. Damon braces allow your teeth to move more comfortably and easily than traditional braces with fewer visits to the office and less treatment time. To learn more, click here.
Invisalign ® is a form of orthodontic treatment that works to correct many different types of malocclusions through the use of a series of clear plastic trays called aligners. Invisalign® was developed to eliminate the use of unsightly metal brackets and wires and allow orthodontic treatment to occur almost "invisibly".
After an evaluation visit to determine whether a patient is a candidate for invisalign®, the orthodontist will take dental impressions, radiographs and pictures. Using these, invisalign® will use its unique computer imaging system to create a series of invisalign® aligners, which are clear and which will replace the standard bracket and wires of conventional orthodontics. The first in the series of clear retainers will fit the patient's teeth as they exist at the beginning of treatment. Each successive retainer will exert forces which will move teeth to the position where the next retainer can take over.
The patient must wear each removable retainer for approximately two weeks. They must be worn at all times – 24 hours a day - except during meals.
The number of aligners will vary from patient to patient depending on the severity of the malocclusion. The overall length of treatment generally approximates the time needed for standard orthodontics.
When it comes to correcting bites and straightening smiles, orthodontic treatment is necessary. Orthodontic care can vary depending on a patient’s specific needs, their preferences, and their budget. There are plenty of factors that are taken into consideration before any treatment is implemented. In general, teenagers are at the perfect act for orthodontic care. Orthodontic treatment aims to correct bites and straighten teeth by gently guiding them a certain way over time, and since teenagers are still in a stage of growth and development, these changes are much easier to implement. In addition to traditional metal braces, Invisalign is also available for teens who are eligible, which can allow teens to achieve a straighter smile without anyone even noticing that they are wearing braces at all.
Traditional metal braces are composed of metal brackets and wires. These aspects are adjusted at intervals so that they encourage the teeth and their supporting structures to move into a healthier formation over time. Invisalign also utilizes physics in a similar way, but manages to do so with plastic trays instead of brackets or wires. Invisalign uses clear aligner trays that are molded to fit over the patient’s teeth. About once every two weeks, a new mold is created and is slightly different from the last set to help keep teeth moving gradually. Treatment plans can be adjusted according to each patient’s pace and overall progress.
One of the best things about Invisalign is the fact that the aligner trays are made from a clear plastic, making them virtually invisible when worn. Additionally, Invisalign trays can easily be taken out during mealtimes and while brushing. Teens won’t have to worry about getting food caught in their braces or adjusting their at-home oral hygiene routine to accommodate their new braces. For patients who are eligible, Invisalign can be a fun and easy way to get a straighter smile.