Who is a Candidate for Treatment
What does your smile say about you?
Whether it's for aesthetic reasons, good health, proper jaw function or a combination of them all, orthodontic treatment can help correct many different health related issues.
Your Smile Says a Lot!
Aesthetics is one of the more popular reasons for orthodontic treatment. A healthy smile can make a positive difference in many different aspects of a person's life.
As a physical representation of the inner-self, a beautiful smile is a meaningful part of making good impressions with others. It can help people look and feel their best as well as increase self-confidence. Most people associate a nice smile with friendliness and approachability.
In many cases, orthodontic treatment has helped both social and career success, and aided in improving people's general attitude toward life.
Straight Teeth are Happy Teeth!
It's a fact: Straight teeth are less prone to tooth decay, gum disease and injury than crooked teeth. Studies have shown that straight teeth are easier to clean than crooked teeth. Because straight teeth typically stay cleaner, they are less likely to acquire plaque (a major factor in most tooth decay and gum disease). As for injury, when protruding teeth are straightened, there is a smaller probability for them to become fractured if an accident were to occur, therefore reducing the need for corrective dental work. Prevention is the Best Medicine!
When orthodontic problems such as crowded, crooked or protruding teeth go untreated, they can cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces and inefficient chewing function. If a tooth's protective surface is worn too thin, increased sensitivity and a greater chance for it to become fractured can occur. Not to mention, inefficient chewing from untreated orthodontic problems can cause a misalignment of the jaw joints. This misalignment can often lead to chronic headaches or pain in the face and neck.
In most cases, orthodontic treatment can help to prevent the need for costly restorative dental care to correct these problems.
Teeth that are crowded, protruded or misaligned do not function as well as straight teeth. This can result in increased tooth wear, greater chance of tooth fracture, and increased sensitivity.
Class II problems represent an abnormal bite relationship in which the upper jaw and teeth are located in front of the lower jaw and teeth. Class II patients usually exhibit a convex facial profile with a recessed chin. A skeletal Class II problem occurs when the upper back molars are forward of the lower back molars. This gives the patient the appearance of having a recessed lower jaw, a protruding upper jaw or both. In both cases, this relationship is due to the inherited characteristics.
Class III problems are also primarily genetic in origin. In this instance, the lower jaw and teeth are positioned in front of the upper jaw and teeth. The lower jaw may appear to be excessively large, but in many cases the lack of upper jaw development is at fault. Several treatment options are available to correct a Class III problem.
Crowding of the teeth is probably the most common orthodontic problem. Although many factors contribute to dental crowding, this problem typically stems from a discrepancy between the space in each jaw and the size of the teeth.
Crowding is often one of several orthodontic problems. Crowding can be the cause or result of other problems, such as impacted teeth, retained teeth or teeth that do not naturally fall out. Crossbite of the front or rear teeth can also cause the teeth to become crowded.
A posterior crossbite will usually result from a narrow upper jaw or abnormally wide lower jaw. When a patient with a narrow upper jaw is closing their mouth, they will likely be forced to move the lower jaw forward or to the side in order to achieve a stable bite. When closed into this accommodating position, the lower teeth are located outside the upper teeth.
A posterior crossbite can involve one side of the jaw, known as a unilateral crossbite, or both sides of the jaw, known as a bilateral crossbite.
An openbite can occur with either the front or back teeth. An openbite on the front teeth is called an anterior openbite, while an openbite on the back teeth is called a posterior openbite. An anterior openbite is the lack of vertical overlap of the front teeth and can usually be traced to jaw disharmony or habits such as thumb sucking or the posture of the tongue pushing against the front teeth. A posterior openbite is a problem in which the back teeth do not meet vertically, which keeps the jaw from functioning properly.
Spaces between teeth are another common problem associated with the need for orthodontic care. Like crowding, spacing may be related to a tooth-to-jaw size disharmony. Spacing may occur between the front and the back teeth. Tooth size discrepancies, such as smaller teeth or abnormally shaped teeth, can also create abnormal spacing.
Excessive Gingival Display
Also known as a gummy smile, this orthodontic problem gives the appearance of excessive exposed gums on the upper arch. There are several treatment options for this problem. In severe cases, corrective jaw surgery may be necessary to actually shift the jaw vertically upward, thus reducing the amount of exposure of the upper gum tissue.
Pseudo Class III
Pseudo Class III, particularly in younger patients, is often a function of habit rather than hereditary factors. A misaligned bite may cause the lower front teeth and jaw to deflect forward of the upper front teeth, giving the appearance of a Class III relationship.
Also known as an overbite, a deep bite is excessive vertical overlapping of the front teeth and is generally found in association with a discrepancy between the length of the upper and lower jaws. It usually results in excessive eruption of the upper or lower incisors, or both.
Orthodontists today can successfully correct most problems regardless of the patient's age. But that does not mean that the orthodontic treatment starting age does not matter. In fact it may play a significant role in the total time and expenses required for the completion of the orthodontic treatment.
Early intervention can make a dramatic impact on establishing the proper occlusal foundation. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children have a check-up with an orthodontist by the time they reach age 7, for early detection of any potential problems.
By the age 7, some of the permanent teeth have erupted, so that most children have a mix of adult and baby teeth. At this stage of mixed dentition, we can spot potential orthodontic problems related to jaw growth and eruption of adult teeth. Some growth-related orthodontic problems are easier to correct when they are identified early…while the facial bones are still growing.
An early exam allows us to determine how and when a child's particular jaw and/or dental problems should be corrected for the optimal results. Early treatment, or phase one therapy, may be needed to create a better environment to idealize the occlusion for the patient or possibly create an environment to elevate treatment forever.
An early orthodontic examination does not always result in immediate treatment. After evaluating your child, we may simply want to monitor your child periodically while the permanent teeth erupt and the jaws and face continue to develop.
To view our education video on Early Treatment, please click here.
When most people think of orthodontics, they think of teenagers. However, by age 7, most children have a mix of adult teeth and baby teeth. Dr. Wilmot can evaluate potential problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while baby teeth are still present. This is very important because some orthodontic problems are easier to correct if they are detected early. Many of our younger patients will not require immediate treatment. Therefore, Dr. Wilmot will place the patient in our Kids Club (observation phase) to monitor how your child's teeth and jaw grow and develop as well as project and plan for future orthodontic needs. Timing of your child's orthodontic treatment is critical and regular visits to our office during this phase ensure the proper start of the treatment.
At your child's observation appointments his or her growth and development will be carefully monitored and there is NO FEE associated with the Kids Club observation phase. You will receive friendly email reminders letting you know it's time to contact our office to schedule your child's next appointment.
We look forward to seeing your child and thank you for choosing the office of Dr. Janice J. Wilmot for your family's orthodontic care.
First Days in Braces
You can eat any time after leaving our office; however, we ask that you remember the list of foods that may be harmful to your braces. Until you become accustomed to eating with your new braces, you may find it beneficial to follow a diet consisting of all soft foods.
Initially, the braces feel like they stick out. This is normal. As you become accustomed to your braces and tooth alignment improves, this sensation will cease to be a concern. Although the brackets have been rounded and smoothed, until the cheek tissues have toughened, you may find it helpful to use a small piece of orthodontic wax around the bracket that is creating the irritation. If your supply of wax runs out, call our office for more. The wax may also be purchased at a local drug store.
You will probably notice some discomfort beginning a few hours after your braces are placed. Some teeth, usually the front teeth, may be tender and sensitive to pressure. Occasionally, patients report that they experience no discomfort, but most patients have some soreness beginning during the first few hours and dissipating within a day or two. Exactly when the discomfort ceases is impossible to predict and differs with each patient. Non-prescription pain remedies are recommended for discomfort. For maximum effectiveness, it may be best to take such medications before the discomfort begins.
Before Leaving the Office
There are routine steps that we ask you to take prior to leaving the office. These steps will minimize discomfort related to irritation from the braces and ensure an optimal response to treatment. Please make these steps a part of each office visit:
Using your finger and tongue, check to see that the wire ends do not extend into areas which might poke or abrade the cheek or tongue.
Make sure you understand what you are to do until your next appointment. This could include wearing headgear or elastics as instructed, adjusting an expander or following specific hygiene and diet instructions.
Make sure you have an adequate supply of dental wax, special cleaning aids, elastic bands, or other related materials you may need between appointments.
Always schedule your next appointment before leaving the office. Waiting 1-2 weeks after an appointment before scheduling your next office visit complicates the scheduling process, since appointments are programmed 4-6 weeks in advance. Postponing appointments is a common contributor to overtime treatment.
To view our education video on First Days in Braces, please click here.
Braces aren't just for kids anymore.
Tooth alignment can be changed at any age if your gums and bone structures are healthy. We offer a variety of treatments that are designed for different age groups – including adults. A new smile can begin today.
Orthodontic treatment at later stages in life can dramatically improve your personal appearance and self-esteem. Improving the health of your teeth and gums is equally important. Crooked teeth and a bad bite can contribute to gum and bone loss, tooth decay, abnormal wear of the tooth enamel and surfaces, even headaches and sometimes jaw joint (TMJ/TMD) pain.
Good news! The new techniques and appliances we use greatly reduce discomfort levels, decrease the frequency of visits, shorten treatment time and may allow you to choose from several options. Your options include Invisalign®, clear braces and metal braces. One of these options is sure to fit into your lifestyle.
A large percentage of our patients are adults, and they agree that it's never too late to improve their greatest asset - their smile.
To view our education video on Adult Treatment, please click here.
When You Finish Treatment
Upon completion of your active orthodontic treatment there is much to celebrate. However, all of the work is not done. The retention period is just as important as the active movement phase of your treatment process. Once the teeth have been moved into the desired position, a period of time is needed to stabilize the teeth so that the surrounding bone and soft tissues conform to your new dental alignment.
When the retainers are initially placed, following completion of the orthodontic treatment, they provide the very important function of holding the teeth in one position for a period of time. This allows the surrounding bone and gum tissue to "tighten up" and adapt. Except when eating, brushing, flossing or playing active sports, please wear your retainer at all times. Compliance during this "active wear" phase is critical to allow you to successfully move to the next phase.
Once the "active wear" phase of the retainers is complete, you will generally only need to wear the retainers enough to keep fitting, which may be one or two nights per week for most patients.
Keeping your retainer in a case will prevent loss or damage. Brush the retainer with cool water and soak it in dental cleanser or mouthwash periodically to keep it fresh. Never put it in hot water. If you cannot brush your teeth after eating, rinse off the retainer and place it back in your mouth or in your case. Call us right away if you break or lose your retainer.
Faithful wear of your retainers will ensure that you enjoy a long term benefit from your orthodontic treatment. It is also important to know that, even with full compliance to your recommended retainer regimen, some small amount of movement is considered normal.
Here Are A Few Things to Remember During the Years of Retainer Wear
Don't fold it in your napkin or leave it on the table at a restaurant. Garbage cans don't make happy hunting grounds.
Don't put your retainer in your pocket. You might sit on it and break it. OUCH!
Take your retainer out when swimming in a lake or ocean. If it falls out you may not be able to find it. The same goes for a swimming pool depending on the size of the pool.
Animals and younger children love to play with it. Please make sure your retainer is in your mouth at all times. Your retainer should only be out of your mouth when brushing or eating.
Your lower retainer may be a fixed retainer bonded onto your teeth. It is not considered permanent and can be broken or detached from your teeth, if you are not careful with it.
Bring your retainers to your check-up appointment. If anything happens to your retainers (i.e. it doesn't fit, it's broken, or it's lost) please call us ASAP. If your lower bonded retainer wire comes out, keep it and bring it in at your next appointment for rebonding.
The first set of retainers is included in your treatment fee. Any repair, replacement of your retainer, or rebonding of your lower retainer will be additional and charged to your account.
Keep things clean! Be sure to brush your teeth without your retainers in. Do not boil your retainer or put it in hot water. Brush your retainer with a toothbrush using toothpaste or water.
To view our education video on the care and use of your Retainer, please click here.
Having a clean mouth is important. It gives you fresh breath and a nicer-looking smile. Brushing and flossing removes a thin sticky film of bacteria that grows on your teeth. This sticky film, called plaque, is the main cause of tooth decay and gum disease.
You will notice that it is much harder to keep your teeth clean with braces. Food becomes caught in the brackets and between your teeth. Brushing after meals and flossing will help prevent plaque from forming and should become part of your daily schedule. Use a soft toothbrush and brush at a 45-degree angle to the tooth in small circles above and below the brackets. Your toothbrush will wear out faster because of your appliances, so be sure to replace it whenever the bristles start to fray.
If plaque remains on the teeth for any length of time, it can leave a permanent white scar on the surface. A waterpik or an electric toothbrush can be a useful addition, however, please continue to see your dentist at least every 6 months for regular dental cleanings.
Please do not eat hard foods, including nuts, ice, crisp taco shells, whole apples and carrots (cut them into pieces first), hard French bread crust and rolls, spare ribs, corn on the cob (cut the corn off the cob before eating) and popcorn! These foods can cause breakage of the brackets and wires. Also avoid nail-biting and pen- or pencil-chewing habits, since these can damage your braces. Do not eat sticky foods like taffy, caramels, bubblegum or sticky candy of any sort. Excessive broken appliances due to careless eating habits may result in additional charges for repair.
Flossing with braces takes a few minutes to master, but the effort is well worth it. The first step to flossing is getting the floss under the wire that connects the braces together. A floss threader will help you get the dental floss underneath your archwires. Dental floss with a stiff end is also available. It is pre-cut and is very easy to insert underneath archwires.
Once the floss is under the archwire it can be wrapped around the tooth on one side. The floss is then pushed up toward the gum line and then pulled down toward the wire. This should be repeated four to five times to ensure all plaque is removed. Be careful not to put too much pressure on the wire as you pull down. Then wrap the floss around the neighboring tooth. Once both teeth are done, the floss is pulled out and the process repeated for the next two teeth.
To view our education video on Oral Hygiene, please click here.