Orthodontics is a form of dentistry that is concerned with the proper positioning of teeth, jaw bones, and jaw joints. Most people associate orthodontics with braces to correct crooked teeth in children. However, people of all ages can benefit from orthodontics – in fact, there is more to gain than just a pleasing smile!
Orthodontics can impact our overall health. Teeth which are misaligned and crowded can cause infection, bone loss, decay, gum disease, and tooth loss and also other potential problems like headaches, dizziness, ringing of the ears, eye twitching, or neck, shoulder and back pain.
A stable bite is formed when the upper and lower teeth close and fit together like gears of a machine. When the bite is uneven, the chewing muscles become aggravated and must work harder to bring the teeth firmly together. The extra work makes them tired and strained. This can lead to pain and problems in the jaw, neck, back, head, eyes, and ears.
The goal of orthodontic correction is to establish a stable bite in which the muscles and bones are working in harmony. If you or your child have any of the following symptoms, please call our office to evaluate whether orthodontic intervention may be beneficial:
• Difficulty chewing due to pain
• Face or jaw pain
• Permanent teeth coming in (erupting) out of their normal position
• Problems with biting cheeks or roof of the mouth
• Speech difficulties
• Overbite or underbite of teeth
• Tongue thrusting when swallowing
• Breathing difficulties and/or snoring at night
• Mouth breathing
Phase I (Early) Treatment: Phase I orthodontic treatment usually starts before the permanent teeth have erupted or when the child has very few permanent teeth present. Early treatment involves guiding the growth of the upper and/or lower jaw usually by using functional appliances, to make enough space for all the permanent teeth. Other goals for Phase I therapy are to establish the proper positions of the upper jaw, the lower jaw, and the jaw joint. Children may be evaluated as early as age four to check for tooth and jaw discrepancies. Benefits of early treatment:
• Improve profiles, smiles and self-esteem
• Correct harmful habits, such as thumb sucking and tongue thrusting. Functional appliances expand the arches and make more room for the tongue.
• Improved speech
• Reduction of the time in braces and frequently eliminates the need for the extraction of permanent teeth
• Increases nasal breathing which improves health
• Eliminates airway constriction
• Create beautiful broad smiles by developing the arches
• Prevents headaches and earaches
The ideal age for the use of functional appliances is between ages seven and eleven, when the child is most cooperative. However, functional appliances can be utilized as early as age 4, if the upper jaw is too narrow and is having a negative effect on the child’s breathing and speech. Functional appliances can also be used in adults to develop the arch to a more normal shape and size before applying or in combination with braces.
Phase II (Braces): Braces is usually the second phase of treatment, which follows the use of functional appliances. The braces are used to move teeth into alignment to support the development of the bone achieved in the first phase of treatment. The second phase of treatment begins when the permanent teeth have erupted. It is the combination of the braces, the wire and the elastic that help the tooth move into proper position. This second phase of treatment usually last between 12-24 months.
Patient cooperation is the best way to keep on schedule with the braces. This includes keeping regular appointments, taking care of the appliances, and wearing rubber bands as instructed. After the braces are removed, is necessary to wear retainers to hold the final result.
At our specialty office, Rane’s Dental Aesthetics 609-750-1666, our orthodontists, Dr. Anna Morrison, DMD, MS and Dr. John Couzzo, DDS, MS, have been treating children and adults for almost 30 years and have changed some of the most difficult cases into beautifully functioning smiles. If you are not sure if you need braces or qualify for the clear alternative called Invisalign or just need any other dental work, please feel free to call our parent office, Rane’s Exclusively Yours Dental 609-275-1777 for a consult with one of our general dentists, Dr. Janhavi Rane, DDS, Dr. Pradeep Sukumar, DMD, or Dr. Hyeshik Lee, DMD.
Rane’s Exclusively Yours Dental (Main Office). Plainsboro Shopping Center (Beside Super Fresh and Dunkin Donuts). 10 Schalks Crossing Road, Plainsboro. 609-275-1777. www.ranesdental.com
Rane’s Dental Aesthetics (A Dental Specialty Extension for Orthodontics and Periodontics). New Plainsboro Village (Beside 1st Constitution Bank), 11 Schalks